Song Lam exit AFC Cup on a high
By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC - Defending V-League champions Song Lam Nghe An defeated Tampines Rovers of Singapore 3-0 in their final game of the AFC Cup in the central city of Vinh on Wednesday.
Song Lam were already eliminated from Group F but they went out with a flourish through a double from midfielder Le The Cuong and Senegal striker Dieng Cheikh Dieng’s first half effort.
Hong Kong champions Kitchee and Malaysian FA Cup holders Terengganu had already qualified for the next round with Song Lam and Tampines with only pride to play for.
Tampines coach Steven Tan still brought a strong side to Vietnam as the S-League champions looked to finish their disappointing campaign on a positive note.
Song Lam coach Nguyen Huu Thang promised his side would give a better account of themselves after a horror show in Malaysia two weeks ago when Terengganu thrashed them 6-2.
Both sides started the game without key players. Backed by an enthusiastic support from local fans, Song Lam got a grip on the game early doors and didn’t let go.
The home side took the lead after just seven minutes when Cuong easily defeated Tampines goalkeeper from close range.
Cuong and Dieng squandered good opportunities to extend the lead before Dieng made it 2-0 in the 19th minute. Cuong finished the scoring in the 45th minute.
Tampines had more possession in the second period but failed to take their chances as Song Lam ran out worthy winners.
In the other game in Group F, Kichee were held to a 2-2 draw by Terengganu at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground Stadium in Hong Kong in the later game.
Kichee finished as Group F winners with 11 points, runners-up Terengganu collected 10 points, with Song Lam on seven points and Tampines bottom with five points.