Super substitute Nguyễn Xuân Nam (left) celebrates his opening goal with teammate Phạm Văn Thành. Photo the-afc.com
HÀ NỘI Substitute Nguyễn Xuân Nam scored a brace to maintain HCM City FC's top spot in Group F of the Asian Football Confederation Cup yesterday in Vientiane, Laos.
The Vietnamese team defeated Lao Toyota 2-0 at the National Stadium with both goals coming in the second half.
Starting for HCM City was Guinea-Bissauan forward Amido Balde, but he squandered several opportunities in the first half, leading to his replacement at half time.
Nam, who scored twice in the V.League last week, replaced him, and the 26-year-old put his side in front in the 72nd minute.
Nam took the ball into the box after Norihiro Kawakami failed to clear, and easily found the net.
In the 90th minute, he made it 2-0 for the visitors with a powerful shot from close range to beat Soukthavy Soundala.
The home side also offered little in attack in the first half with nothing strong enough to beat goalkeeper Nguyễn Thanh Thắng.
HCM City top their group with seven points. They will next entertain Lao Toyota in the return leg at Thống Nhất Stadium on April 15.
In the other game in Group F yesterday, hosts Yangon United earned a 1-0 win over Hougang United at Thuwunna Stadium.
Today, Than Quảng Ninh will play Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng of Cambodia in Group G.
Quảng Ninh coach Phan Thanh Hùng said Svay Rieng were strong but with most of his best players on hand, he was confident of a first win for his team in Phnom Penh.
Speaking at the pre-match briefing, Hùng said: “Svay Rieng are a tough club in Group G and they will have home advantage. But apart from (Andre) Fagan’s red card, I have my strongest players here and we all believe in ourselves.
“I think we can win,” said Hùng, who said he thought midfielder Daisuke Kobayashi of Svay Rieng needed to be watched carefully.
With only one point after two matches, Quảng Ninh are bottom of the group. They need to win to make sure of their chances of progressing in the event.
The artificial pitch at the National Stadium will be another challenge for Quảng Ninh.
After two days training, striker Mạc Hồng Quân said it was hard and could cause injuries for players who were not familiar with the surface.
Taking part in the briefing yesterday, Jamaican striker Jermie Lynch said he would score in this match and help Quảng Ninh return home with a win.
The Jamaican scored against Bali United and Ceres Negros.
Midfielder Nguyễn Hải Huy said: “Svay Rieng had a good result against Bali. They are a very strong and technical side, so we will have to work hard to limit their strengths.
"We need to give it everything we have in this game and if we do I think we can achieve a good result.”
On the other side, Svay Rieng made a big bang when they defeated Bali United 2-1 in previous round. With one win and one loss, the Cambodians stand second in the table. VNS