Kuala Lumpur City from Malaysia qualified as the second-best team after defeating Tampines Rovers from Singapore with a score of 2-1 in the AFC Cup 2022 group stage Group H at KLFA Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.
Tampines showed early promise with Zehrudin Mehmedovic, who scored against Indonesia’s PSM Makassar on Matchday One, finding himself in a promising position but failed to find the target from above the six-yard-box off a set-piece situation.
Tampines’ early grip on the game, however, began to fade as KL City dictated the play with Josue, Romel Morales and Kenny Pallraj causing problems for the Singapore side.
KL City wasted two clear-cut chances in the span of two minutes with Josue and Hadin Azman combining well to break through the Tampines defence, but Hadin cut-backs into the area did not reach their intended targets.
Bojan Hodak’s KL CIty came close again in the 12th minute when Zhafri Yahya did well to set Morales free inside the box but Tampines’ Shuya Yamashita foiled the Colombian’s effort from close range.
KL City were finally rewarded with the opener in the 16th minute when Josue collected Zakaria’s cross before muscling his way inside the box before drilling home past Tampines custodian Syazwan Buhari.
Josue scored his second in spectacular fashion five minutes later with Zakaria supplying a fine cross from the left flank for the Brazilian to half-volley his effort from the top of the box.
Tampines, however, kept themselves in the game with Kopitovic starting the move in the 34th minute when he picked up an unmarked Andrew Aw on the right flank, who then set-up the Montenegrin for an easy header from close range.
Morales almost restored KL City’s two-goal advantage two minutes into the restart when he forced a save from Syazwan following Ryan Lambert’s through ball.
Tampines barely troubled the home side with Kopitovic coming the closest with his effort in the 63rd minute, while KL City were equally wasteful with Zhafri, Hadin and Irfan all failing to find the target.
It didn’t matter for KL City in the end though as the three points were enough to ensure they advanced to the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals as the best placed runners-up.
Credit Photo : Simon Yap/SNE Images