Citizen snatch sensational last-minute victory
Skipper Festus Baise's late goal gave Citizen a sensational 2-1 win over Yangon United last night in their first victory in the AFC Cup.
With the match heading for a 1-1 draw, the Citizen captain made no mistake when he was free on the left to power home a low drive with one minute to go, inspiring the 1,000 fans into cheers at Mong Kok Stadium.
Although Myanmar's Yangon United coach Eric Williams indicated that Baise was offside before touching the ball, the goal was allowed.
'The referee did not rule out the goal,' said Baise. 'It's always nice to score a goal like this because the match is almost over. But I won't say I am a super star. This is the result of team work. We kept going until the last minute and the result came.'
The win revitalised Citizen's hopes in their first regional cup campaign. But they are now third in the four-team group, with three points from two matches - just one behind leaders Chonburi of Thailand.
The Thai squad featured in the region's second tier cup tie only after losing in the Asian Champions League preliminaries.
The group G favourites beat Home United of Singapore 1-0 in another match last night.
With a shortage of attacking players due to injury, Citizen had to rely on their counter-attack, allowing the opposition to take the initiative. They were lucky to take the lead in the second half when defender Helio Goncalves headed home a fast free-kick, with Yangon United players still trying to form the wall.
The visitors replied with the equaliser through their expatriate, Milan Jovanovic, who hit a half volley in the 64th minute.
Citizen executive director Calvin Pui Ho-wang admitted the visitors were strong.
Yangon coach Eric Williams said two lapses of concentration cost them. 'Our performance was good,' he said. 'We played an away match, but in the first half we thought we were the home team. Citizen played negative football, and only relied on counter-attacks. But unfortunately, we felt asleep and lost.'
Meanwhile, Guangzhou Evergrande coach Lee Jang-soo apologised to fans after his Super League champions lost 2-1 in the AFC Champions League to Buriram United.
Young Ghanaian striker Frank Acheampong scored 12 minutes from time to secure a second straight win for the Thai Premier League champions, moving them three points clear at the top of group H ahead of Guangzhou and J.League champions Kashiwa Reysol.
'We had momentum after winning the first game in the group by a big margin, but today we lost and we have to face reality,' said the South Korean coach. 'We made some mistakes - some by me - and on behalf of the whole team I want to say sorry. I want to thank all the friends from the press ... and from across China, but I'm very sorry.'