HCM CITY — Defending V-League champions Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) kept their chances of qualifying for the next round of the AFC Cup alive by beating Kitchee of Hong Kong 1-0 yesterday at Vinh Stadium in Nghe An province.
Midfielder Nguyen Hong Viet scored the only goal of the match in the 60th minute to help SLNA notch up their first win in four games in Group F. SLNA now have four points and are still in contention for a place in the second round, despite propping up the group.
Continuing with his rotation policy, SLNA's coach Nguyen Huu Thang fielded an experienced team and it showed as the match lacked drama and excitement, and the first half finished with just one goal-scoring opportunity for the visitors.
Entering the second half, Kitchee committed more men forward looking for the win that would guarantee them a place in the next round, but the chances went begging.
In the 60th minute on a rare attack, the home team opened the scoring as Viet penetrated the penalty area after a through-ball from Senegalese striker Dieng Abbas before turning inside the defender to fire a low shot inside the far post.
Kitchee pressed forward in search of the equaliser but they could not find a way into SLNA's net.
To go beyond the group stage, SLNA need to win their two remaining games, which see the Vietnamese side playing away at Malaysian Terrengganu and taking on Singapore's Tampines Rovers.
The other Vietnamese representative in the competition Navibank Sai Gon were defeated 2-0 by Burma's Ayeyawady United. — VNS