ACL: Roar to face Global after thriller in Manila

Brisbane Roar will make history next Tuesday as they become the first team to host a Philippines representative in the AFC Champions League after joyous scenes saw Global progress overnight (Tues).

In an exciting clash for the home fans in Manila, Global defeated Tampines Rovers of Singapore 2-0 in the first preliminary round of qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The win books the biggest game in Global’s history next Tuesday night at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium against a Roar side currently fourth in the Hyundai A-League.  

Ahamd Azzawi opened the scoring for Global just after the hour mark before Misagh Bahadoran confirmed the win 12 minutes later. 

The prize for Brisbane Roar or Global is a final ACL qualifier against Gus Poyet’s Shanghai Shenhua in China on Feb 7 – a side that features striker Carlos Tevez.

Striker Carlos Tevez is unveiled as a Shanghai Shenhua player in January.

Global, the three time United Football league champions took to the continent’s biggest club competition without stress, pushing Tampines, runners-up in the S-League last year, back from the beginning.

Tampines, home to former Liverpool and England star Jermaine Pennant last season, struggled at first to cope with the 4-4-1-1 formation employed by new coach Toshiaki Imai.

Jermaine Pennant

The Japanese tactician has a varied coaching CV with stints in charge of J.League club Kawasaki Frontale as well as the national teams of Mongolia and Chinese Taipei.

Global want a more patient build-up from the new boss but at the old Rizal Memorial Stadium in downtown Manila, the team were straining at the leash, eager to get a taste of Champions League action after past experience against fellow Southeast Asian clubs in the second-tier AFC Cup.

The link-up play between the two attackers, Misagh Bahadoran, an Iranian-born regular for the Azkals – as the national team is nicknamed – and Ahamd Azzawi worked well from the beginning. 

It was no surprise then that it was these two that got on the scoresheet in the second half.

Goalkeeper Patrick Deyto –another international and one of seven from the club that was named in the Azkals’ 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup squad – saved a late penalty to ensure that the win came with a clean sheet to end the night on a perfect note.

As well as the front two, Brisbane should keep an eye on centre-back Amani Aguinaldo who enjoyed a titanic struggle with veteran Singapore international Khairul Amri.

On Tuesday, Aguinaldo played alongside the veteran Dutch-born defender Paul Mulders. 

Mulders will probably keep his place for the trip to Australia though many would like to see the 18 year-old Marco Casembre given a chance.

The teenager made his international debut in November against Thailand, a team that can cause problems going forward as Australia knows only too well after events in Bangkok in November. 

Hyundai A-League clubs should keep an eye open if the youngster does make the starting eleven.

Attacking and aggressive at home, it remains to be seen how Global approaches Brisbane. A little bit more caution is likely but this is a team that has plenty of talent, both up front and at the back.

There is also no pressure. 

Fans at home are excited about playing an Australian team in a competitive game but none expect a win. 

It is up to the Queenslanders to make the running but the likes of Bahadoran and Azzawi should not be left alone at the back. 

And while Global know the going will be tough against Hyundai A-League opposition next Tuesday night at Suncorp, excitement is now building ahead of their clash in the Sunshine State. 

Above all, Global, who are between seasons, will be fresh and desperate to pull off what would be the greatest result in the history of Philippines club football.