City’s fifth game in the Asian Champions League took place last night against the hosts of the group stage, BG Pathum United.
To say this game was forgettable would be an understatement, with the game ending in another stalemate, this time 0-0.
Here are three things we learned:
The team is exhausted…
It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for the City squad.
After trying to finish as many A-League matches as possible over the last month, we’ve flown to Thailand and played five games, each of which has only been a few days apart.
The toll that this is beginning to take on the team was obvious last night, with most players looking tired and worn down. You can hardly blame them as the conditions in Bangkok were hot and humid, and the team has been working like crazy to fit in so much football.
If we can progress through the group stage, the knockouts should be much gentler on us.
…and yet we make no subs.
Patrick Kisnorbo has made his opinions on substitutions pretty clear across the course of his time as City’s Head Coach. He regularly goes whole games without a change, even if the game is crying out for one.
Last night was another clear example of this. With the clock running down and so many players out on their feet, Paddy decided to make some subs in the 91st minute... the 91st minute!
The whole team looked wrecked. Our movement had reduced to a crawl, we looked sloppy and exhausted, and instead of rotating through the squad, Kisnorbo kept the starting 11 together.
With so many games in such a short span of time, this feels like an incredibly poor decision.
A win would have sent us through to the knockouts, and instead of bringing on players to push for a result, we were happy to sweat out a draw.
One to go
Our Champions League fate now comes down to our final game of the group stage, a clash with Filipino side United City on Saturday night.
Whilst results so far have us projected to escape the group stage and progress to the knock-out rounds, a good result is still needed.
We made it look easy last time, beating United City 3-0, so the team will be hoping to continue this streak with a solid win and finish the group stage undefeated.
The squad selection for the game will be interesting as fatigue was clearly an issue last night.