Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese clubs grabbed their victories at the first group round matches of the Asian Football Confederation Cup on Saturday.
Goals from Hồ Phúc Tịnh and Hồ Khắc Ngọc saw a dominant Sông Lam Nghệ An defeat hosts Tampines Rovers of Singapore 2-0 in Group H at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Earlier, a goal from captain Pape Omar Faye gave FLC Thanh Hóa a hard fought 1-0 win over the Filipino team Global Cebu in the Group G encounter in Hà Nội at the Mỹ Đình Stadium.
Foggy conditions prevented both Thanh Hóa and Global Cebu from playing their best.
It took until the 73rd minute for supporters to see the only goal during the match.
Nguyễn Xuân Thành’s left-footed cross floated to the back post, where Faye was left unmarked to smash a header past Global Cebu custodian Patrick Deyto.
Deyto had twice earlier denied Faye with two clutch saves, including one in the first half from point blank, when the Senegalese striker attempted to kick the ball home from a corner, with Deyto also doing well to clean up the resulting scramble in the box.
The 27-year-old keeper was refused Trần Đình Hoàng’s venomous effort from the edge of the box near the end of the first half.
On the other side, Vietnamese eyes were kept on U23 goalie Bùi Tiến Dũng in his first performance, after returning home as a hero from the Asian championship last month in China.
Thanks to his teammates, Dũng faced almost no threats during the match. He was so relaxed that he had time to advance to near the centre point to watch Faye’s successful header.
Thanh Hóa’s next trip will be to Myanmar to face Yangon United, while Global Cebu is at home against Indonesia’s Bali United on February 27.
In Singapore, the Vietnamese National Cup winners took the lead when midfielder Ngọc slipped the ball in for defender Tịnh, who made no mistake in putting the ball past Syazwan Buhari in goal.
Ngọc then scored an early contender for goal of the tournament, with a rocket from outside the box with just 20 minutes remaining, sealing all three points for the visitors.
Despite the victory, Sông Lam Nghệ An suffered a large loss when their No 1 keeper, Trần Nguyên Mạnh, broke his arm.
In an attempt to block a kick from Tampines Rovers side at the 23rd minute, Mạnh fell to the ground and broke his arm.
Doctors immediately sent him to the hospital where it was noting that he needed surgery.
The injury may keep Mạnh out of action for months, which means that he may miss the first period of the V.League season, which kicks off next month.
Sông Lam Nghệ An will be at home against Malaysian powerhouse Johor Darul Ta’zim on February 28, while Tampines Rovers will travel to Indonesia to face Persija Jakarta. — VNS