22/04/2024

Macarthur FC celebrate one of their eight goals in an 8-2 victory over Cebu FC in the AFC Cup. Photo Credit: AFC Cup/Twitter

Macarthur FC hosted its first ever home continental match-up, welcoming Cebu FC from the Philippines to Campbelltown in the AFC Cup.

As the 2022/23 A-League Men wooden spooners looked to continue building towards the new season, and did so in style, putting the sword to Cebu Football Club to go two from two in their AFC Cup group.

The action started early, with Macarthur being awarded a penalty in the fifth minute, which captain Ulises Davila slotted home, being the first of six goals in the opening 45 minutes.

Macarthur coach Mile Sterjovski was very happy about his side’s first half performance, and a little critical of the second half.

“It was definitely a game of two halves,” he said.

“I was very happy with the first half. I thought we were in control. We stuck to our game plan really well.

“Come second half, I think we lost our way a little bit. Maybe a few players were focused on trying to get on the scoresheet.

“In the end, I was pleased to get the three points.”

Macarthur slowed down in the second half, choosing to work on their tactics and preventing injuries, as the hosts ran out 8-2 winners in front of a crowd of 2012, conceding two goals inside the final 10 minutes.

Sterjovski was disappointed about his side conceding two late goals.

“It’s very disappointing to concede,” he said.

“We lost our way in the second half, and it’s something we’re going to have to review at training and continue to work on.

“We’re a team that’s in progress. We’re not a finished product by any means, so we’ll keep working on our process and getting better each week.”

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There was a slight injury concern for Macarthur, with Danny De Silva being substituted in the 12th minute.

Sterjovski said post-game the early indications are a strained hamstring but “we’re not quite sure yet.”

Valère Germain, who scored a brace amongst the six first half goals, was full of praise for the club and his teammates after the sides win.

“I think we have a lot of quality to make a good season,” Germain said.

“In the A-League, I think we will play against a better team for sure.

“But we want to win every game. We want to play every game like we played tonight.”

On the other side of the equation, for one team to have an 8-2 victory, the other needs to be on the losing side.

Speaking post-match, Cebu FC coach Joshua Schirmer talked about how he challenged his side at half-time.

“Obviously, we were really disappointed with our performance in the first half,” Schirmer said.

“It didn’t go the way we had hoped for and it was a good learning experience.

“When you play a really good side like that they punish your mistakes, and that’s exactly what happened.

“I challenged the boys at half time. I said ‘Look, we’ve come this far. Lets at least compete,’ and I feel like they did that.

“So I just went and thanked them for the second half performance. I thought we at least competed in the second half and we’ve got to learn how to not start the game like we did today.”

The second half performance gave Schirmer some hope, but Cebu will not have long to dwell on the result.

“I am happy they were able to show a bit of fight and show that we do have a plan in place, the philosophy, and we do know how to play the game in the end.

“It gives us something, a bit of hope to finish the game off which was not our best night.

“I guess it could be a good thing that we play on the 9th, so it’s a quick turnaround by the time we get back to the Philippines, we don’t have long before our next game to dwell on this.

“We’ll break down the video and try to fix some of the mistakes.”

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