Navibank stunned by Kelantan in AFC Cup

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SaigonTimes English - 25 month(s) ago 5 readings

Navibank stunned by Kelantan in AFC Cup

HCMC - National Cup winners Navibank Saigon lost 2-1 to Malaysians Kelantan in the AFC Cup at Thong Nhat Stadium in HCMC on Tuesday.

Navibank stunned by Kelantan in AFC Cup

By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily

Navibank striker Edison Fonseca (L) fi ghts for the ball with Kelantan’s Zamri during their AFC Cup clash at Thong Nhat Stadium on Tuesday - Photo: Ba Chau
HCMC - National Cup winners Navibank Saigon lost 2-1 to Malaysians Kelantan in the AFC Cup at Thong Nhat Stadium in HCMC on Tuesday.

Colombian striker Edison Fonseca put the home side in front in the 34th minute but the Saigon fans were stunned when Indra Putra Mahayuddin netted in the 80th minute and Lebanese striker Mohamad Ghaddar hit an 83rd minute winner as Kelantan qualified for the knockout round.

Before on Tuesday’s clash Navibank were locked in a three-way battle with Myanmar’s Ayeyawady United and Kelantan for the top two spots in Group H with all three teams on seven points after four games.

Navibank looked confident with a full-strength team and the fact that striker Fonseca had been extremely prolific at Thong Nhat Stadium with hat-tricks in Navibank’s home wins over Arema and Ayeyawady. However, Navibank started without Togolese defender Vincent Bossou, who was suspended after he was sent-off in the 2-0 loss to Ayeyawady two weeks ago.

Coach Pham Cong Loc said before the game that he believed his players would beat Kelantan despite a 3-1 loss to leaders Hanoi T&T in the V-League last week.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian side were confident of victory against their rivals with seven members of the Indonesian national team in their line-up including Lebanese striker Mohamad Ghaddar, who notched five of his six goals in Kelantan’s last two games against Arema.

Backed by an enthusiastic support from local fans, Navibank had most of the possession but failed to create too many opportunities in the first 30 minutes.

But when Fonseca hit his seventh goal in the AFC Cup when he eased past the Kelantan goalie after receiving the ball from Luong Van Duoc Em, it all looked good.

Navibank couldn’t add to their lead but it looked like 1-0 would be enough.

However, with 12 minutes to go Putra leveled for Kelantan with a superb free-kick before Ghaddar’s winner.

In the other group game Ayeyawady United surprisingly lost 3-0 to bottom-placed Arema at Youth Training Center in Myanmar to hand Navibank a qualification lifeline.

Kelantan confirmed their place in the knockout stage of the AFC Cup as they secured top spot in Group H with 10 points.

Navibank are still second on seven points, level with Ayeyawady but ahead thanks the goal difference. Bottom-placed Arema have four points after five games.

If Navibank get a better result in Arema in the final group game at Gajayana Stadium in Indonesia on May 8 than Ayeyawady who travel to Malaysia to face Kelantan on the same day, the Vietnamese side will qualify for the knockout round.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s other representatives in the AFC Cup V-League champions Song Lam Nghe An are in action against Terengganu Sultan in Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium, Malaysia on Wednesday, while Tampines Rovers of Singapore take are at home to Kitchee of Hong Kong at Jalan Besar Stadium. Song Lam have had a poor campaign and are on four points and need to defeat the Malaysians to have any chance of qualifying.

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