Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – Việt Nam representative Becamex Bình Dương quit the Asian Football Confederation Champions League after losing 1-2 to FC Tokyo in their Group E match yesterday in Bình Dương Province.
Needing a win to guarantee progression to the knockout phase, FC Tokyo took a deserved lead shortly after the 20-minute mark at Bình Dương Stadium when Ryoichi Maeda headed home from close before the forward bagged his second with a fine strike 10 minutes after the interval.
Becamex Bình Dương’s Lê Công Vinh’s penalty midway through the second half gave the hosts hope before he struck the bar twice late on.
FC Tokyo should have opened the scoring 10 minutes in after Maeda’s nimble footwork helped him manoeuvre his way across the Becamex Bình Dương backline before playing in Keigo Higashi only for the midfielder to shoot over from eight yards under pressure from goalkeeper Bùi Tấn Trường.
However, the visitors did take the lead 21 minutes later when Kota Mizunuma slipped in Kento Hashimoto, who dinked a lovely cross over the outrushing Trường for Maeda to head into an empty net for his second goal of the group stage.
Defending a four-game unbeaten run at home in the continental competition, though, Becamex Bình Dương responded positively with forward Vinh firing just wide from the edge of the area a minute later.
FC Tokyo then could have opened up a two-goal lead soon after when Higashi played Nathan Burns, but the Australian’s first touch inside the area let him down at the vital moment.
And despite the Japanese side having the better of the possession, Becamex almost equalised a minute before the interval when Vinh’s wonderful drive from fully 30m struck the outside of the right post.
Burns again should have done better five minutes after the restart when Moses Oloya’s misplaced pass fell near him inside the Becamex half but, after breaking into the penalty area, the frontman was off target.
Another careless ball five minutes later, this time from substitute Christian Amougou, ended up with Maeda, who fooled the Becamex Bình Dương defence with a neat step-over before placing a beautiful left-foot shot from outside the area beyond the reach of goalie Trường to give the visitors breathing space.
The home side pulled one back on 68 minutes, though, after Yuichi Maruyama brought down Cameroonian Amougou, and Vinh coolly dispatched the ensuing penalty.
And the in-form forward almost equalised in the dying minutes when his speculative, curling effort from well outside the penalty area rebounded back off the crossbar.
FC Tokyo held out to claim the runners-up spot at the expense of Jiangsu FC, who played out a 2-2 draw with Korea Republic’s Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in another Group E encounter.
Leonardo’s penalty 19 minutes on gave the hosts the lead at Jeonju World Cup Stadium only for goals either side of half-time from Brazilian duo Alex Teixeira and Jo to wrest the initiative back to the visitors.
But with Lim Jong-eun heading home an equaliser on 68 minutes.
The Korean champions advanced as group winners ahead of FC Tokyo due to a superior head-to-head record.
FC Tokyo secured their second appearance in the last-16 round of the league, which will be played on May 17 and May 18.
Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors will meet Melbourne Victory while FC Tokyo meet Shanghai Sipg. — VNS