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Defending champs lose group match

Update: March, 07/2012 - 09:45

HA NOI — V-League defending champions Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) could not capitalise on their opportunities yesterday and lost 0-1 to Malaysia's Terengganu in their first Group F match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup in Nghe An province.

The guests took the initiative to attack SLNA's goal right from the start. In the very first minute, Mohd Ashaari took a shot but missed.

The game remained goalless for the first 45 minutes.

In the 57th minute, striker Abdul Manaf Mamat received the ball from his teammate on the half-way line, sped up and overcame SLNA's defenders before putting the ball in the net.

The Vietnamese pressed their rivals, but strikers Quang Tinh and Van Quyen still did not score a goal. In the 72nd minute, coach Huu Thang replaced Van Quyen and Van Binh with Ngoc Anh and Khac Ngoc, respectively, to try and salvage the match. However, they missed every goal-scoring opportunity.

This is the second time SLNA have taken part in the AFC Cup. Last year, the team failed to reach the quarterfinals after losing 1-3 to Persipura Jayapura from Indonesia. Their Malaysian rival is participating in the tournament for the first time.

This year, SLNA were assigned to Group F along with Malaysia's Terengganu, Hong Kong's Kitchee and Singapore's Tampines Rovers. Sponsor Bac A Bank pledged to award them with VND500 million (US$24,000) for each win at the cup. The club will next compete against the Rovers at Jalan Besar stadium in Singapore on March 20. — VNS

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