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United City faces Korean challenge

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STEPHAN Schrock and United City FC test their mettle against Daegu FC of South Korea. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF AFC

United City FC seeks to grab its first win in its group stage campaign when it clashes against Daegu FC of South Korea in the AFC Champions League (ACL) in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Tuesday.

Kickoff is set at 10 p.m. (Manila time) with the Philippine side attempting to pull an upset of powerhouse Korean team to finally barge in the winning column.

Meanwhile, Kaya FC will also look to bounce back as it collides with Viettel FC of Vietnam at 10 p.m. in Bangkok, Thailand.

“It’s all about testing yourselves against the best teams,” UCFC head coach Jason Withe said.

Settling for a 1-1 draw on its maiden appearance against Beijing Guoan FC on Saturday, the English tactician said the defending Philippines Football League (PFL) champion already gained enough confidence to face a tougher Daegu squad.

After all, the elite Filipino club is not satisfied with a mere point and raring to prove that they are one of the dark horses in the prestigious tourney.

United City is looking to regain lethal form from skipper Stephan Schrock, midfielders Hikaru Menigishi and Mike Ott together with Spanish forward Bienvenido Maranon and Korean booter Da-won Jung.

But winning over an unfamiliar foe like Daegu is easier said than done.

Entering their second straight ACL appearance last year, the 2018 Korean FA Cup champion team is looking to get back from their opening 2-3 defeat to Kawasaki Frontale on Saturday.

Daegu is expected to unleash its offense from the fiery troika of Brazilian strikers Edgar and Cesinha, alongside target man Jin Hyuk Kim.

“We played three friendlies, but it was all geared towards peaking on time for competitive matches,” Withe said.

“From here, it’s about building competitive match fitness. It’s all about recovery as we have the games coming in a short period of time.”

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