HCM City players (in white) compete against Hougang United of Singapore last month. HCM City will visit Lao Toyota on March 10 in Vientiane. Photo the-afc.com
HÀ NỘI — HCM City FC will play away in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup on Tuesday in a Group F match originally slated to be held at City's home, continuing their long road trip.
Instead of entertaining Lao Toyota at Thống Nhất Stadium, the 2019 V.League 1 runners-up must travel to Vientiane to face the hosts at the National Stadium.
The AFC switched the date of the fixture on March 2 after a proposal from Lao Toyota.
Originally, City were set to host the Lao team on Tuesday while the return match was scheduled for April 15. However, the return match was to be held during Bunpimay, the Lao traditional holiday from April 13-15, making it impossible to organise a match.
HCM City pocketed their first V.League 1 win on Friday after beating Quảng Nam 3-1 and swiftly headed for Laos for the continental tournament hours after the game, their third away match in a row.
Striker Nguyễn Công Phượng is the key player for the visitors and has scored in their previous two AFC Cup matches, while fellow forward Amido Balde is also important. The Guinea-Bissauan scored a brace in the Vietnamese side’s 3-2 victory over Singapore's Hougang United two weeks ago.
The two star men will be supported by new signing Alex Monteiro de Lima, who could make his debut for the club after missing out due to injury.
According to Transfermarkt, Lima is one of the most expensive newcomers to Southeast Asian football.
The Brazilian left winger played seven years in the US before moving to South Korea and now Việt Nam.
The transfer website lists his transfer value as US$798,000, behind only Muangthong United’s Uzbek Sardor Mirzaev ($1.71 million) and Port FC’s Brazilian Heberty Fernandes ($1.14 million), both of whom play in the Thai League.
HCM City currently lead the group with four points after one draw and one win.
Lao Toyota, meanwhile, are still in search of their first point after a 3-2 defeat against Myanmar's Yangon United in their second match and a 3-1 loss to Hougang in their opener in February.
The match, to kick off at 6.30pm and be shown on Fox Sports 2, will be played behind closed doors due to the fear of coronavirus.
Hours earlier on the same day, second-placed Yangon United will host third-placed Hougang United at their Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon.
The competition's other Vietnamese representative Than Quảng Ninh will play their third match when they visit Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Wednesday.
Quảng Ninh lie bottom of Group G on one point while Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng are second with three points. VNS