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Tiebreaker Times


Two-goal hero Hartmann takes charge as United City scores historic ACL win

After a miserable run of matches, United City Football Club finally lit up the 2021 AFC Champions League with a 3-2 victory over China’s Beijing Guoan, Thursday night, at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

The result was the first-ever win for a Filipino side in Asia’s biggest club competition, and what a way to do it. United City now moves up to third place in Group I with four points. Meanwhile, Beijing Guoan is now at last place with two points.

“(I’m) very proud of our boys, United City FC, tonight,” tweeted coach Jason Withe after the game. “The first Philippines team to get (three) points in AFC Champions League after a slow start going, 0-2 down then winning the game 3-2. Great team spirit.

Down two goals after the first 45 minutes, the four-time Philippines Football League champions turned up the pressure in the second half. Azkals pool member Mark Hartmann provided light at the end of the tunnel for his side; he converted a free-kick past Beijing Guoan goalkeeper Guo Quanbo in the 59th minute.

Hartmann again proved instrumental soon after, as United City had another free-kick outside the opposition’s box. The 29-year-old first forced a fine stop from Guo Quanbo. Newly naturalized Filipino forward Bienvenido Marañon then tapped the ball home from a scramble in the 69th minute.

With momentum purely on their side, United City was lucky to not have conceded a third goal after the ball hit the post. Immediately after, Hartmann found himself through on goal. He finished calmly to complete his brace and the comeback in the 80th minute.

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The second half heroics overturned a dismal start for Withe’s men before the referee even blew his whistle. United City only named five substitutes on the bench, two of which were goalkeepers.

Thirty-eight seconds into the game, the defending Filipino champions found themselves a goal behind after Jiang Wenhao found the back of the net.

Things then got worse for the team. Leng Jixuan doubled Beijing Guoan’s lead behind some fine dribbling in the 4th minute. United City’s best chance to pull one back came later in the period when Amin Nazari’s header hit the post off a Stephan Schrock free-kick.

Ultimately, though, it was a night to remember for United City, its players and coaches, its fans, and the rest of the Philippine football community.

United City wraps up its continental campaign against South Korea’s Daegu Football Club this Sunday, 8:00 PM Manila time.

United City XI: Pinthus (GK), Kane, Maranon, O Nazari, Schrock ©, Minegishi, Dizon, Hartmann, Hwon, Grierson, A Nazari.

Beijing Guoan XI: Guo Quanbo (GK), Jiang Wenhao, Liang Shaowen ©, Ruan Qilong, Xie Long Fei, Leng Jixuan, Naibijiang Mohemaiti, Xu Dongdong, Hu Jiaqi, Ma Yujun, Shi Yucheng.

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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