Bulls bounce back in Asia as young & old combine in classy AFC Cup triumph over Phnom Penh

Macarthur FC registered a comprehensive 5-0 win over Phnom Penh Crown in Campbelltown on Thursday night, bouncing back from a disappointing defeat to the Cambodian side in the AFC Cup.

First-half goals to Valère Germain, Ulises Dávila and Raphael had Mile Sterjovski’s side cruising at the break, with Tomislav Uskok’s powerful headed goal from a corner in the 81st minute and a Lachie Rose finish after Jesper Webber’s superb wing play capping off a comfortable win for the Isuzu UTE A-League side.

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Featured image credit: 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC)


Macarthur began the evening three points behind Phnom Penh Crown in the Group F standings but jumped into top spot with the convincing win.

The Bulls face Shan United at home on matchday five, before a final group stage game against Cebu on December 14.

Germain opened the scoring in the first half after hitting the crossbar early doors; the goal came via a penaly earned by Dávila after a shove in the back by Orn Chanpolin, leading to Germain rolling the ball into the bottom-right corner from the spot.

Raphael made it 2-0 on 20 minutes, set up by a sensational cross off the left wing by fellow young Bull Jed Drew.

Then came a rare header by Macarthur captain Dávila to make it 3-0 by half-time, picked out by an in-swinging cross by Germain for a headed goal on the edge of the six-yard box.

Phnom Penh weren’t without their first-half chances, with Shintaro Shimizu flashing a left-footed shot just past the post from a narrow angle, but the visitors couldn’t convert any of their fleeting opportunities.

The second half drifted by with sights on goal few and far between before a late cascade of Macarthur pressure that produced a pair of goals.

Phnom Penh’s final attempt at making a late fightback came in the 69th minute when Andrés Nieto thrashed a long-range shot off the crossbar; from then on, it was all Macarthur.

Tomislav Uskok made it 4-0 with a commanding header, latching onto an Ali Auglah corner to score. Then, a pair of substitutes combined to perfection as Webber dribbled down the right wing to find Lachie Rose between Phnom Penh bodies for a tap-in.

The Bulls are next in action in the Isuzu UTE A-League against Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday, November 12.

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The star

Young winger Jed Drew is making the most of his opportunities under Macarthur coach Mile Sterjovski and his impact on the left wing – particularly early doors, with the game there to be won – was outstanding against the Cambodian side.

Drew assisted Raphael’s goal to make it 2-0 and was involved in much of Macarthur’s positive attacking play. Delivering with pace and accuracy with low, whipped crosses off the left wing is becoming something of a trademark move for the 20-year-old who, after three rounds of the 2023-24 Isuzu UTE A-League season, has already accrued half the amount of starts (three) as he did all of last season at the Bulls.

An ongoing run in the first team is reaping the rewards, both for himself and Macarthur as a whole.

Jed Drew. Image credit: 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC)

The moment

The reaction to Jesper Webber’s run and assist to Lachie Rose late in the game said it all; this is a young player who the squad, led by captain Dávila, are eager to support as he makes his first strides into first team action.

After an electric run down the right wing, Webber put the ball on a plate for Rose to finish. In the aftermath he received plenty of encouragement from Rose, and then Dávila – two of the club’s leaders.

Webber is 19 years old, but looks another exciting prospect in a Macarthur attack featuring the likes of Drew, Raphael and Ali Auglah – with the latter scoring his first-ever Isuzu UTE A-League goal just days ago to snare three points for the Bulls against Western United.

Webber has now shown a glimpse of his potential as a 19-year-old on the rise – and with Sterjovski’s recent reliance on young talent in an attack spearheaded by experienced Frenchman Valère Germain, any sort of run of appearances Webber manages to put together will do wonders for his confidence and development.