Match Review: 2014 AFC Champions League – Qualifying Play-offs – Third Round
WEST ASIA ZONE
Lekhwiya SC (QAT) - Kuwait SC (KUW) 4-1
29′ Soria, 72′ Msakni, 78′ Boudiaf, 90+3′ Luiz Cearà - 34′ Nekounam (rig.)
Lekhwiya SC, managed by Belgian Eric Gerets, is a more than decent team, that can field several notorious players: the Slovak Wladimir Weiss, one of the writer’s (Maxi Lozzo) favourites, a former Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers, Rangers, Espanyol, Pescara and Olympiakos winger, a French, naturalized Qatari, defender, Dame Traoré (a former FC Valenciennes player), the Captaino of Algerian National Team, Madjid Bougherra (former defender of Charlton Athletic and Rangers), the Tunisian mildfielder Youssef Msakni, the Southkorean Nam Tae-Hee (a former FC Valenciennes winger), the Senegalese International Issiar Dia (former striker of Nancy and Fenerbache), and, finally, the Uruguaian, naturalized Qatari, forward, Sebastián Soria.
In Kuwait SC we can find few good players with an important career: the Capitano of Iranian National Team, Javad Nekounam (he spent six seasons in Spain playing for CA Osasuna), Chadi Hammami and Issam Jemâa (former SM Caen, AJ Auxerre, Stade Brest 29 and RC Lens player), that are respectively a midfielder and a forward of Tunisian NT (National Team), and the Brazilian Rogerinho, a former Club Atletico Paranaense striker.
The final result lies a bit, because the match has been tied until 72th minute, when Lekhwiya scored, and then added two more goals, probably playing on counterattacks to take the chances conceded by Kuwait SC, that was desperately trying to equalize.
El Jaish SC (QAT) - Qadsia SC (KUW) 3-0
36′ Nilmar, 63′ Muntari, 85′ El-Sayed.
In El Jaish SC squad we can find Anderson Martins (a former Brazilian defender of Esporte Clube Vitória and Vasco da Gama), the experienced Omanian International Ahmad Al Mukhaini (midfielder), the Croatian-born Brazilian, then naturalized Qatari, Wagner (a former Panionios offensive milfielder) and, most of all the former Brazilian International Nilmar (who has played so far for Sport Club Internacional, Olympique Lyonnais, Corinthias and Villarreal) and the French-Congolese Jirès Kembo-Ekoko (a former Stade Rennais FC striker).
The best Al-Qadsia player should be the Brazilians Michel Simplício Rosseto, who has gained a decent experience in Portuguese top-tier with Naval 1° de Maio, and Maranhão, who has build a decent career in Japanese and Southkorean Championships.
There isn’t anything else to add to the final results.
Qatari Clubs won the double direct confrontation with the emerging Kuwaitian ones, thus El Jaish SC and Lekhwiya SC qualified for AFC Champions League Group Stage, while Kuwait SC and Qadsia SC have been relegated to AFC Cup Group Stage, the second level continental club competition: our predictions proved to bequite wrong, because we would have expected two pretty balanced matches, whereas the Lekhwiya SC – Kuwait SC one had been for 70 minutes.
EAST ASIA ZONE
Melbourne Victory FC (AUS) – Muangthong United FC (THA) 2-1
58′ Troisi, 83′ Broxham - 22′ Gjurovski
Melbourne Victory FC is probably the most supported team in Australia, having and average attendance of more than 20.000, that in the past has been even higher, and sometimes registering around 40.000 spectators during the local Derby against Melbourne Hearth FC and Play-off matches.
The key elements in the squad are: two Australian Internationals, the Captain, Mark Milligan (a defender/midfielder), and the offensive midfielder James Troisi, the top scorer of the team, who has had few good seasons in the Turkish Championship with Kayserispor and Genclerbirligi Ankara, and is currently on loan from Atalanta (Italian Serie A, where he didn’t play many games, and that make us consider A-League on the same level with a second tier competition in Countries such as Italy, Germany, England and Spain), and a former column of Chilean National Team, Pablo Contreras (35, defender), who is surely the most experienced element in the team, having played for CSD Colo Colo, AS Monaco FC, Racing Club de Avallaneda, Celta de Vigo, CA Osasuna, Sporting CP, SC Braga, PAOK Salonicco and Olympiakos Pireo.
We also want to point out: Nathan Coe, a 29-year-old goalkeeper that sometimes is called up for Australian NT (a former Number 12 of PSV, FC Copenaghen and Number 1 of SönderjyskE SE, a team from Danish Superliga), Tom Rogic, a Socceroos’ (the nickname of Australian NT) offensive midfielder on loan from Celtic FC, Kosta Barbarouses, a Neozelandese International (a former striker of Alania Vladikavkaz and Panathinaikos), Archie Thompson, a 35-year-old striker that has been in the team for 8 years (he has played for Lierse SK and PSV too, and is still an Australian International, with whom once he scored 13 goals in a single official match, when Australia defeated 31-0 the American Samoas, setting a new world record that he still holds), and Guilherme Finkler, a Brazilian offensive midfielder who, after playing in his Country minor leagues, is doing quite well during this Season.
The manager is Kenny Muscat, a former defender, who captained the Socceroos few times, famous for an hard playing style, like Vinnie Jones one.
Muangthong United FC is togheter with Buriram United FC, one of the two best teams in Thailand, and can field few intersting and/or quite famous footballers: the defender and Northkorean International, Ri Kwang-Chon, the very physical Australian International, whereas he has Estonian origins, Eric Paartalu (he has been a key element in Brisbane Roar midfield), the Ivorian midfielders, who can score several goals, Dango Siaka, the International of FYRoM (Macedonia) Mario Gjurovski (a former FK Vojvodina and Metalurh Donetsk offensive midfielder), the Southkorean International Kim Dong-Jin (a former defender of Zenit San Petersbourgh, with whom he won an UEFA Cup) and the English striker Jay Bothroyd, who has played for CoventryCity, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Stoke City, CardiffCity and QPR.
The match has been played in front of more than 8.000 spectators at Kardinia Park, in Geelong, an unusual for the Australians, and has been very struggled: finally Melbourne Victory FC, the host team, came from behind after a goal scored directly from a corner kick by Mario Gjurovski during the First Half. We report you that Muangthong United FC complained a lot about the refereeing, because a red card, a penalty kick had been awarded against them, and one of Melbourne Victory FC goal had been maybe scored in off-side: you can watch the video and judge by yourself.
Beijing Guoan FC (CHI) – Chonburi FC (THA) 3-0
1′, 11′ Guerròn, 18′ Utaka, 89′ Shao Jiay.
Beijing Guoan FC is a Club from the Chinese Capital, that plays his home matches at the Workers Stadium, the 2008 Olympics main venue, and can count on a certain economic power.
The team stars are the forwards Joffre Guerròn, an Ecuatorian International who has played for CA Boca Juniors, LDU Quito, Getafe CF, Cruzeiro and CA Paranaense, Peter Utaka, a former Nigerian International and KVC Westerlo, Royal Antwerp FC and Odense BK player, and Andrè Lima, a Brazilian who has played for Gremio, Fluminense, Botafogo, Sao Paulo FC, Hertha BSC and Vasco da Gama, and the Argentinian Pablo Batalla (a former offensive midfielder of CA Velez Sarsfield, CF Pachuca, Quilmes AC, Deportivo Cali and Bursaspor) and the Sothkorean International Ha Dae-Sung (midfielder).
We would spend a mention for current Chinese Internationals Zhi Yang (goalkeeper) and Xizhe Zhang (midfielder) and the former ones Jiyai Shao (midfielder, who has built a decent carrer in Germany with Monaco 1860, FC Energie Cottbus and MSV Duisburg) and Yunlong Xu (defender).
Among Chonburi FC squad there aren’t many footballers to point out, maybe Thiago Cunha, a Brazialian striker who has played in lower divisions of his Country, and the Japanese midfielders Hayato Hashimoto, who has collected several J. League matches with Omiya Ardija.
The qualification has never been contested, because after 20 minutes into First Half Beijing Guoan FC was already leading 3-0: the good-willing Thais, that were quite weaker than the two other fellow clubs in the Competition, could do almost nothing against the (economic) power of the Club from the Chinese Capital.
Melbourne Victory FC and Beijing Guoan FC qualified for AFC Champions League Group Stage, while the Thai clubs for this season have say goodbye to continental club competitions, because, unlike kuwaitian teams, won’t be “relegated” to AFC Cup Group Stage, because Thailand already qualify a club (Buriram United FC) directly to the Group Stage of the Asian highest club tournament.
About East Asia Zone, our predictions have been absolutelyt righ: infact we had expected a very balanced game between Melbourne Victory FC and Muangthong United FC, while we hadn’t given Chomburi FC many chances against the strong Chinese side.
If you want to know which other teams are involved in 2014 AFC Champions League, we suggest you to visit the Wikipedia page of the competition: