|Deserved win: Winger Huynh Quoc Anh of SHB Da Nang dribbles the ball past Ayeyawady United's Zaw Zaw Oo during an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup match yesterday. Da Nang won 2-1. — VNS Photo Hoai Nam
DA NANG (VNS)— Romanian Sabin-Cosmin Goia and Argentinean top scorer Gaston Merlo scored twice to help SHB Da Nang beat Myanmar's Ayeyawady United 2-1 in a group stage match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup yesterday.
Cosmin, who stands at 1.88m, headed home in the 43rd minute of the first half, while Merlo added to the tally in the 60th minute.
Substitute Nay Lin Tun pulled back a goal for Ayeyawady United in the last minute of the second half.
"Da Nang played better than us. They deserved to win the game today. Our players were too scared in the first half, while the defenders made mistakes in the last minutes of the first half," Ayeyawady's coach Marjan Sekulovski said.
"We had a good tactical play in the first group stage match. Our players kept their momentum and handled possession well," said Da Nang coach Le Huynh Duc. "Cosmin was a rock at the back. He even scored a goal – helping our team win!"
Da Nang started the game with two strikers – Merlo and Tanzanian Danny David – much to the delight of the bumper 10,000 crowd.
The host sped up the game from the 20th minute, attacking from the flank with short, low passes.
In the 38th minute, both Cosmin and winger Quoc Anh missed chances when their shots were denied by Myanmar's keeper Aung Min Khant.
However, Ayeyawady United's defence lost their concentration in the last minutes of the first half and did not mark Cosmin's high ball.
In the 43rd minute, Cosmin jumped higher than Myanmar's defenders to send the ball flying into the net from Phan Thanh Hung's free kick.
The host kept up its relentless attack in the second half.
In the 60th minute, Tanzanian Danny set up an accurate pass for Merlo, who made the second goal of the match.
Danny himself missed a goal when his close shot was parried by Myanmar's keeper Aung Min Khant in a face-off in the 68th minute.
The Myanmar team then regrouped to pull a goal back.
Midfielder Nay Lin Tun met his teammate Dominik Bersnjak's long ball in a counterattack to fire a powerful shot to the back of the net.
The win took Da Nang to the top of group G with three points. The group also contains Kelatan from Malaysia and Maizya from the Maldives, who will play on March 6. — VNS