Semen Padang boot Warriors out of AFC Cup

Semen Padang wrapped up top spot in AFC Cup Group E and booted Warriors FC out of the tournament with a 2-0 win on Wednesday.

Warriors FC vs Semen Padang: Edward Junior Wilson
Gabriel Tan

By Gabriel Tan

Reporting from the Jalan Besar Stadium

Edward Junior Wilson opened the scoring in the 40th minute when he pounced on some awful defending by Marin Vidosevic to finish from close range, before he wrapped things up a minute after the hour mark with another clinical finish.

The result was enough to ensure the Indonesian Premier League giants wrapped up top spot with a game to spare, while the Warriors can longer qualify for the knockout round as Kitchee sealed their progress in Wednesday's other game with a 4-0 win at Churchill Brothers.

However, it might have been a different story had the Great Eastern-YEO's S.League side managed to put away their chances early on in the match; Mislav Karoglan sending a free header inches wide of the far post in the 9th minute after being picked out in the box by Tatsuro Inui's perfectly-weighted cross.

Seven minutes later, Sufian Anuar pounced on a loose ball inside the area and drilled in a cross in search of Karoglan, but Jandia Eka Putra reacted well to gather before it could reach the Bosnian striker.

But it was Semen Padang who came excruciatingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 19th minute after Vendry Mofu received the ball on the edge of the area and unleashed a ferocious shot that came smashing back off the post. Reacting first to the rebound was Titus Bonai, who made no mistake by tapping into the unguarded net, but their celebrations were cut short by the offside flag.

Four minutes before the half-hour mark, another good opening went begging for the hosts after Shi Jiayi delivered a glorious ball that looped over Jandia's attempted punch and landed right on the head of Sufian, but the Singapore international was unable to steer the ball on target.

Karoglan then missed a second gilt-edged chance in the 32nd minute after Zulfadli Zainal Abidin had embarked on a barnstorming run down the left and expertly cut the ball back to the striker, only to see him fire straight at Jandia despite having plenty of the goal to aim for.

A minute later, Aiboy created a shooting chance for himself with a neat little fake on the edge of the box but could only fire a left-footed piledriver back off the bar, before the woodwork came to the visitors' rescue in the 37th minute when Ruzaini Zainal hammered a shot into the post, after he had picked out at the back post by Zulfadli's looping cross.

But despite showing plenty of initiative, the Warriors shot themselves in the foot five minutes before the break when they went behind after Yoo Hyun-goo's incisive through-ball sent Wilson racing through.

It appeared that Marin Vidosevic enough to halt the Liberian's progress but the Warriors centre-back somehow failed to deal with the situation and expected Abdil Qaiyyim to cover for him, and that brief moment of hesitation was all Wilson needed to nip in and fire the loose ball past Hassan Sunny.

A minute later, Warriors were extremely lucky not to go further behind after Bonai broke free down the left and drilled in a cross that was turned towards goal by Mofu from four yards out, only for Hassan to deny him from point-blank range.

Aiboy, who was causing all sorts of problems in the attacking third, continued to see plenty of the ball after the break and he could almost laid on a goal for Bonai in the 53rd minute with a lovely cross, but his fellow Indonesia international could only guide his free header wide.

Two minutes later, Aiboy broke free down the right once more and laid the ball back into the path of Mofu, but again, Semen Padang were guilty of being wasteful as he fired just past the far post.

But a minute after the hour mark, and just seconds after they had failed to capitalise on a three-on-one break, the visitors finally got their second goal. Winning possession from Shukor Zailan just outside the Warriors area, Bonai raced towards goal before squaring the ball to leave Wilson with a simple tap-in from two yards out.

By now, it looked like an increasingly impossible task for the Warriors to keep alive their hopes of making the Round of 16 but they could have salvaged some pride with a spirited fightback. Yet, the finishing touch continued to desert them; Inui becoming the next culprit in the 67th minute when he fired straight at Jandia after a miskick from Hengky Ardiles handed him the ball inside the six-yard box.

As the game reached its closing stages, it was Semen Padang who looked more likely to add another goal and Mofu came close with a fine individual effort in the 85th minute; tearing down the right and advancing on goal before firing in a fierce shot that was deflected over.

Two minutes later, Hassan produced a fine save to keep out a rasping drive from substitute Nur Iskandar, and although he managed to keep the scoreline down, the damage had already been done by then.

Warriors FC: Hassan Sunny, Daniel Bennett, Abdil Qaiyyim, Marin Vidosevic (Dharham Aziz 83'), Zulfadli Zainal Abidin, Ruzaini Zainal, Shi Jiayi (Matthew Abraham 66'), Shukor Zailan, Tatsuro Inui, Sufian Anuar, Mislav Karoglan (Prakash Manikam 65').

Semen Padang: Jandia Eka Putra, Hengky Ardiles (Ricky Akbar 90'), Saepuloh Maulana, Wahyu Wijiastanto, Novan Setyo Sasongko, Elie Aiboy (Nur Iskandar 65'), Yoo Hyun-goo, Vendry Mofu (M. Rizal 85'), Esteban Vizcarra, Titus Bonai, Edward Junior Wilson.

Attendance: 378

Image courtesy of WSG

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