Gentle Giants bow to ruthless Phnom Penh in AFC Cup opener
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The CFC Gentle Giants may have lost their opening match in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup but head coach Joshua Schirmer still praised his boys for their gallant effort.
The Gentle Giants bowed down to ruthless Phnom Penh Crown FC, 0-3, on Thursday evening, September 21, 2023, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
The visiting Cambodian league champions paid little respect to homecourt advantage and the strong home support as they clobbered the Gentle Giants in the latter’s debut in the AFC.
Still, Schirmer has some encouraging words for his Gentle Giants.
“I’m happy with the performance, some of our players have never played at this level before and now they see what this is all about. Some raised their games and some need to learn to raise their games even higher for the next games because we don’t expect the opposition to be getting weaker. So as far as the first experience at this level, I’m quite pleased with that but again we came to win but we didn’t do that so it was not the perfect night we hoped for,” said Schirmer during the post-match presser.
Schirmer added that they could’ve prevented a lopsided defeat against Phnom Penh if the Gentle Giants defended well in the first half.
Shintaro Shimizu of Phnom Penh Crown FC scored the first goal late in the first half, in the 42nd minute.
The Cambodian squad went on to score two more goals in the 54th and 83rd minutes from Orn Chanpolin and Andres Nieto, respectively, to win pulling away.
Phnom Penh Crown FC had the most ball possession in the game – 62% compared to CFC Gentle Giants’ 38%.
Also, they had 14 shots, six of which were on target compared to Cebu FC’s 10 with two on target.
Despite their shortcoming, Schirmer promised the Gentle Giants would do their best in their next match against favored MacArthur FC of New South Wales, Australia on October 5.
“Sure, we will do our best to prepare the team and improve in areas that we didn’t quite meet our standards tonight, we have to remember how strong our opponent was but we have to learn to raise our level to get to where they are,” Schirmer explained. /rcg
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