|Sai Gon Xuan Thanh player Nsi Amougou Christian (left) vies for a ball against Malaysian Selangor player during their AFC Cup qualifier. Photo bongdaplus.vn
HCM CITY (VNS)— Oguwike Ameka Ndubuisi scored a double to give Sai Gon Xuan Thanh FC (SGXT) a crucial win over Selangor of Malaysia in Group H's third round match yesterday at Thong Nhat Stadium in HCM City in this year's AFC Cup.
Ndubuisi scored one goal in each half of the match to give the Vietnamese National Cup holders a second win in this event.
The first half looked balanced and both teams tried to move the ball forwards but no clear-cut chances were created until extra time of the first half.
The breakthrough came in the first minute of injury time when Ndubuisi drove a powerful long-range shot past Selangor's goalkeeper Norazlan Bin Razali into the top corner.
Selangor upped their game in the second half as they searched for an equaliser. They enjoyed more possession and put the host team's goal under threat. Their pressure was finally rewarded when Mohd Amri Bin Yahyah was released down the left flank and crossed the ball to striker Francis Forkey Doe, who got past SGXT's defenders too easily to poke home an equaliser for Selangor.
The Selangor fans' joy lasted only one minute however, when confusion between Selangor's goalkeeper and defenders allowed Ndubuisi to capitalise and head home a winner for the Vietnamese V-League Club.
Selangor worked hard and threw all they had into getting an equaliser but it was SGXT who had the clearer opportunities to put the game beyond any doubt.
After the match, Selangor's coach, Irfan Bakti Bin Abu Salim, praised his team's improved performance in the second half, but lamented their poor defending which ultimately cost them the game.
"SGXT had a lot of chances in the first half but we improved our game in the second half. But we conceded two very soft goals and the defenders were so weak today," Selangor's coach, Irfan Bakti Bin Abu Salim, told the post-match conference press. "This loss makes it more difficult for our team to qualify but we still have a slim chance."
SGXT's coach was pleased with the result especially as his team are yet to line up with all their best players.
"We played well in the first half but after replacing key players in the second half, we did not control the match as well but we still had some good chances which we failed to convert because of careless shots from the strikers," SGXT's coach, Tran Tien Dai, said.
The victory opens up the Vietnamese side's chances of qualifying for the knock-out round as two other teams in the group now sit six points behind. SGXT have seven points after three matches to take them level on points with group leaders East Bengal, but sit behind the Indian team on goal difference.
This is good news for Vietnamese football after the V-League champions, Da Nang, another Vietnamese representative in the competition, suffered a humiliating defeat by Kelanta, another Malaysian club, in the Group G's match on Tuesday. — VNS