19 Nov Rovers Debut in AFC Cup Foiled by Anatolii Brace in Bishkek
[August 20, 2016 – Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan] – A free kick awarded to Kygryzstan’s FC Dordoi about 20 minutes into the second half eventually made the difference in the team’s 2-0 victory over Guam’s Rovers FC in the first Group A match of the 2017 AFC Cup qualifying round in Bishkek.
“We are an amateur football team playing (against) a professionally paid Kyrgyz team so we welcome the challenge of playing for our island and our proud spirit,” said Jason Cunliffe, Rovers FC captain. “Our starting players age range from 39 to 16, but I think we surprised them by keeping up and playing at their level.”
The Rovers defense, led by goalkeeper Doug Herrick, managed to frustrate the home team’s attackers, but a foul called on 16-year-old Takumi Ito on the right wing presented an opportunity for FC Dordoi midway through the second half. Vlasichev Anatolii converted on the opportunity to give his team a 1-0 lead.
With a little more than 20 minutes left to play, the Rovers continued to play aggressively up until the final minutes to find the equalizer, working with second-half substitutes Logan Dillenburger and Johnathan Archbold Reyes, who had come in for Budweiser Soccer League Golden Boot winner Min Sung Choi and Scott Leon Guerrero, respectively.
FC Dordoi later sealed the team’s win with a converted penalty kick by Anatolii, made possible after Archbold was called for a foul in the box in the final minute of play.
“We knew this team was strong – Kyrgyzstan is FIFA-ranked 105 and Guam is (169), and their local competition is strong,” said James Okuhama, Rovers FC head coach. “Our game plan was to shut them down in the middle and to frustrate them. For over 60 minutes, we accomplished this goal. We both had chances but they were able to convert theirs from a free kick just outside the box and a PK, which was unfortunate. We have some minor bruises (from this match) but the team is fit and ready to take the field again to represent Guahan where we plan to go out for the win (against Benfica de Macau).”
The Rovers next play Benfica de Macau Sunday evening, kick off at 9:30 p.m. Guam time. The match will be available on Internet Live Stream at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdkjOok6uLM
The Rovers FC is the first-ever football club from Guam to play in an AFC tournament. Captain Jason Cunliffe leads the team, which also includes Douglas Herrick, Jonahan Romero, Ian Mariano, Jan-Willem Staman, Min Sung Choi, Scott Leon Guerrero, Brandon McDonald, Shane Malcolm, David Drews, Paul Bourke, David McCallum, Natsuki Recella, Logan Dillenburger, Yaw Antwi-Agyei “Nana”, Nathan Sablan, Johnathan Archbold Reyes, Takumi Ito, and Camden Aguon.
Rovers FC goalkeeper Doug Herrick (in green) and central defender Paul Bourke (2) work in tandem to try to stop a header by FC Dordoi Abdoulaye Diaby during a 2017 AFC Cup Qualifying Round match in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. FC Dordoi defeated the Rovers 2-0. Photo courtesy of FC Dordoi.
Rovers FC’s Takumi Ito (21), Shane Malcolm (19) and Min Sung Choi (22) try to to stop FC Dordoi’s Vlasichev Anatolii during a 2017 AFC Cup Qualifying Round match in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Anatolii scored twice in the home team’s 2-0 win. Photo courtesy of FC Dordoi.
FC Dordoi’s Vlasichev Anatolii maneuvers around the defense of Rovers FC’s Jonahan Romero as Brandon McDonald (6) and Jan-Willem Staman (14) provide defensive support during a 2017 AFC Cup Qualifying Round match in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Anatolii scored twice in the home team’s 2-0 win. Photo courtesy of FC Dordoi.
The Rovers FC starting 11 players pose for a group photo ahead of its 2017 AFC Cup Qualifying Round match against FC Dordoi Friday evening in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. In the photo are, front row, from left to right: Scott Leon Guerrero, Shane Malcolm, Takumi Ito, Min Sung Choi, Jonahan Romero, and Jan-Willem Staman. In the back row, from left to right, are: Jason Cunliffe, Ian Mariano, Brandon McDonald, Paul Bourke, and Doug Herrick.