Dream start to AFC Cup for Bulls as new recruit, super-subs secure first win on the continent

Shan United 0-3 Macarthur FC - Highlights | AFC Cup | Group F

Macarthur FC have relished a club-first foray into continental football, defeating Shan United 3-0 in the AFC Cup in Myanmar on Thursday night.

The Bulls earned their spot in the competition by winning the 2022 Australia Cup, and travelled to Myanmar eager to make a bright start to life in Group F, and star recruit Valère Germain’s first-half penalty sent the A-Leagues club on the road to victory.

Goals to substitutes Ali Auglah and Lachlan Rose in the second 45′ wrapped up the three points in an encouraging debut in Asia for Mile Sterjovski’s side.

In the other Group F fixture of the night, Filipino outfit Dynamic Herb Cebu fell to a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Crown; the Bulls face Cebu next in AFC Cup action at Campelltown Stadium on Thursday, October 5.

Macarthur were in control of Shan United for the majority of their AFC Cup opener.

Eyebrows were raised ahead of kick-off when a number of key players were absent from the teamsheet, including goalkeepers Filip Kurto and Alexander Robinson; as a result, 40-year-old goalkeeper coach Glen Moss was named among the substitutes as the game got underway at Thuwunna Football Stadium in Yangon.

The visitors didn’t take long to get on top, with an awful tackle on captain Ulises Davila by Kekere Moukailou earning Macarthur a penalty which Germain dispatched with aplomb.

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Bulls keeper Danijel Nizic did well to deny the hosts an equaliser in a one-on-one soon after, and apart from a second-half scare in which Ye Yint Aung rattled the woodwork from a narrow angle, Macarthur was in control.

It looked as though the A-Leagues side would dig in to secure a slender 1-0 win until Sterjovski made the second-half substitutions that sealed the game; Ali Auglah and Lachlan Rose both emerged off the bench to strike late, with the former’s goal the pick of the bunch, scored via a venomous strike after a darting run into the box.

Rose sealed the three points with a clinical finish deep into stoppage time, played over the top of a gaping Shan defence to tuck home in the 95th minute.

Featured image credit: 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC)