Sailors' maiden Asian Champions League campaign ends after 2-1 loss to Daegu
Lion City Sailors' maiden Asian Football Confederation Champions League (ACL) campaign came to an end after a 2-1 loss to Daegu FC in their final Group F match on Saturday (April 30).
They needed a victory against the South Korean side, who finished third in K League 1 last year, to stand a chance of making it to the last 16 of the competition, but were unable to muster a win at Buriram Stadium.
A victory would have seen the Sailors, champions of the Singapore Premier League, finish second in Group F and given them a shot at securing a historic spot in the competition's knockout stages.
The group winners and three best runners-up from the east region's five groups advance to the round of 16.
On Saturday, Sailors coach Kim Do-hoon stuck mainly with the team that had shocked Daegu 3-0 previously, with the only change being left-back Nur Adam Abdullah, who replaced Tajeli Salamat.
On the other hand, Daegu head coach Alexandre Da Gama Lima made six changes to his side.
After a relatively quiet start, the Sailors took the lead in the 26th minute when Song Ui-young struck a spectacular long-range effort.
Song controlled the ball from Daegu defender Kim Jin-hyuk's clearance on his chest, before unleashing a shot with his right foot 25 yards from goal.
But in 54th minute, Daegu drew level after defender Hong Chul pinged a cross in from the left for Lee Keun-ho to bundle home from close range.
With 14 minutes to go, play was suspended for about an hour due to inclement weather that left parts of the pitch waterlogged.
Two minutes after play resumed, Daegu was awarded a penalty after Amirul Adli brought Kim down in the box.
Brazil forward Zeca placed the ball into the bottom right corner to put Daegu 2-1 up and seal their place in the next round.
With a better head-to-head, Daegu finished top of Group F with 13 points, the same as Japan's Urawa Red Diamonds, who hammered Shandong Taishan 5-0 in the other game.
The Sailors' tally of seven points is the best showing by a Singapore side at the ACL.
SAFFC claimed one and four points in 2009 and 2010 respectively, while Tampines Rovers finished their campaign last year with six straight defeats.