Warriors' Weaver satisfied, despite 3-0 loss to Guangzhou R&F
AFC CHAMPIONS LEAGUE QUALIFIER
GUANGZHOU R&F 3
(Jiang Zhipeng 52, Jang Hyun Soo 60, Zhang Shuo 73)
WARRIORS FC 0
The scoreline suggested a stroll for the hosts, but Warriors coach Alex Weaver insisted it was anything but and felt his men could hold their heads up high despite the 3-0 loss to Guangzhou R&F last night.
The defending Great Eastern-Yeo's S.League champions exited the Asian Football Confederation Champions League qualifiers after the loss at the Yuexiushan Stadium in Guangzhou.
In a telephone interview with The New Paper last night, the Englishman said: "We knew that we were up against an excellent side with a lot of experienced players and that they would have long periods of ball possession.
"We had to be tactically disciplined and try to catch them on the break, as their fullbacks love to go forward, and we did well, especially in the first half, when (goalkeeper) Neezam Aziz barely had a shot to save."
The Singapore side stood tall in the first half and even had a chance in the latter stages, but defender Marin Vidosevic headed tamely into Guangzhou custodian Liu Dianzuo off a free-kick.
The Warriors fell behind in the 52nd minute after a wonder strike.
Lu Lin's corner was met on the edge of the penalty box by a sweet first-time volley by Chinese international Jiang Zhipeng and it sailed past a hapless Neezam into goal.
Daniel Bennett and Co. defended resolutely, but were unable to stop Jang Hyun Soo from doubling the home side's lead eight minutes later, as the South Korean slammed a first-time volley past Neezam at the back post.
Substitute forward and former international Zhang Shuo added the finishing touch to the Chinese side's victory in the 73rd minute, tapping into an empty goal after a long-range effort had hit the crossbar.
With the defeat, the Warriors dropped into the group stages of the AFC Cup - the continent's second-tier competition - and will face Indonesia's Persipura at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Feb 24.
Weaver said: "With this game, we've proven that we can change things up tactically to accommodate our opponents and that is going to be important this season, because we are aiming to go into the knock-out rounds of the AFC Cup.
"We cannot be always pressing high up the pitch if we want to do well in the Cup and in the S.League this season.
"We are where we want to be at this stage of the pre-season and we have a few more weeks before the start of the S.League season."
- GUANGZHOU: Liu Dianzuo, Zhang Yaokun, Wang Song (Zhang Yuan, 73), Jiang Ning (Min Junlin, 82), Miguel Javaloyas, Jiang Zhipeng, Jang Hyun Soo, Tang Miao, Chang Feiya (Zhang Song, 65), Lu Lin, Li Yan
- WARRIORS: Neezam Aziz, Marin Vidosevic, Syaqir Sulaiman, Thomas Beattie, Shi Jiayi, Nicolas Velez, Fazli Jaffar (Andy Ahmad, 64), Hafsyar Farkhan Hashim (Emmeric Ong, 85), Daniel Bennett, Irwan Shah, Hafiz Rahim (Marcus Wheeler, 85)
- Bangkok Glass 3 Johor Darul Ta'zim 0