The V.League 1 runners-up Thanh Hoa played with their best line-up with the presence of five rookies including striker Nigerian Edward Ofere and Japanese midfielder Ryutaro Karube alongside the hero of national U23 team, goalie Bui Tien Dung. Yangon United also performed with their best players including Sekou Sylla of Guinea who scored twice in the 3-1 win of United against Bali United of Indonesia on February 13.
Although playing away from home, Thanh Hoa played confidently and captain Pape Omar opened the score in the fifth minute.
The visitors had more several chances to double their score in the first half but failed to convert opportunities into goals.
After the break, the hosts attacked continuously to seek goals. In the 67th minute, midfielder Kosuke Yamazaki Uchida levelled the score for Myanmar’s team.
In the last minutes of the second half, Le Thanh Binh, Omar and Le Van Thang missed chances to help Thanh Hoa take the lead.
In the 87th minute, Aee Soe raised the score to 2-1 for the hosts.
Despite having five more extra minutes, Thanh Hoa didn’t earn any goals and accepted the loss of 1-2.
In other news, at Vinh Stadium in the central province of Nghe An today, Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) will meet Johor Darul Tazim (JDT) of Malaysia in the second match of AFC Cup’s Group H.
Coach Nguyen Duc Thang of SLNA said his team are thirsting for a victory as a gift for their fans on the occasion of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.
“All my players crave for a win to give our fans,” said Thang at the press conference yesterday.
SLNA’s captain Que Ngoc Hai affirmed that his team will make every effort to take a win.
“For me and many other SLNA players, it is the first time we have taken part in the AFC Cup. So we will try our best to prove our abilities. The whole team want a victory against JDT to be a driving force for us at the opening of the upcoming national premier league,” said Hai.
In the first match of group round qualification, SLNA defeated Tampines Rovers 2-0 in Singapore.
SLNA are the most prosperous club in Vietnam at the present time. The team won four titles of Vietnamese Super Cup, three trophies of the national premier league and were the winners of the National Cup three times.
However, the match with JDT will be a great challenge for SLNA as the Malaysian squad are very strong. They are the first team in the country to win four consecutive league titles (2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017). Before this achievement, no team had ever won the league championship more than twice in a row since the league system was first introduced in Malaysia in 1979. They also won the 2015 AFC Cup.
In the first match of Group H, the Malaysian team also proved their power with a 3-0 win against Persija Jakarta of Indonesia to top the group.
“We don’t arrive in Vietnam for tourism. Our target is to gain three points to retain our top position,” said coach Raul Longhi of JDT.
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