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UCFC craves for revenge

Our captain was suspended and we were not looking for one player to be a leader.

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Mark Hartmann (right) is tipped to provide the firepower when United City FC battles Beijing Guoan FC in the AFC Champions League. / PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF AFC

United City FC (UCFC) seeks to improve its performance following a 0-2 loss to Kawasaki Frontale in their rematch in the AFC Champions League at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan late Monday.

UCFC head coach Jason Withe said they are now desperate to hammer a victory entering their last two games in this prestigious tourney where the best football clubs in Asia are seeing action.

The four-time Philippine Football League champion is seated at the bottom of Group I with an underwhelming 0-1-3 record while conceding a dismal total of 18 goals in four games.

Withe said his gamble of fielding new players in the very crucial match seemed to have worked wonders as the outcome was not as ugly as they had in their first match when the Japanese powerhouse crushed them, 0-8, last week.

“We have communicated a bit better and we did that very well today,” Withe said.

“In this game, the team set in with new players and we changed a number of players in the lineup.”

Against Kawasaki, UCFC marched with a crippled roster as it missed the services of veteran midfielder Stephan Schrock due to suspension while Spanish striker Bienvenido Marañon sat out the entire match.

But it hardly mattered.

After a Kei Chinen goal in the first half, the Filipino side displayed an airtight backline defense by young guns Adam Reed, Jordan Jarvis, William Grierson and Pocholo Bugas until Japanese striker Tatsuya Hasegawa found the back of the net in the 78th minute mark to seal the victory.

Withe said putting up a gallant stand was a huge confidence booster to them heading into their next match.

“Our captain was suspended and we were not looking for one player to be a leader,” the English tactician said.

“Everybody can be a leader in different ways. And the quality that we left on the pitch was still top class.”

Still, Withe is craving for revenge, saying that he will fire up his wards heading to their rematch against Beijing Guoan FC on Thursday.

“We drew 1-1 against them. We thought that we could get three points from that game,” Withe said.

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