By Vu Duc - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – V-League champions Song Lam Nghe An tied goalless with Tampines Rovers of Singapore in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) championship in their second game in Group F at Bishan Stadium in Singapore on Tuesday.
The reigning S-League champions have made a slow start to the season and lost 3-1 to Hong Kong champions Kitchee in their AFC Cup Group F opener in Hong Kong two weeks ago. However, Tampines Rovers coach Steven Tan was looking to secure the first victory against the Vietnamese side at their home ground.
Song Lam head coach Nguyen Huu Thang said before the game that the club had not previously played a Singaporean club in the AFC Cup but he has plenty of respect for the S-League side.
The V-League champions recently showed poor performance as they now sit at seventh place on 14 points from 10 games at the domestic tournament. Song Lam also suffered an opening defeat two weeks ago when they went down 1-0 at home to Malaysian side Terengganu.
The home side were confident of victory against their rivals with three key players in their line-up including Ahmad Latiff, Aleksandar Duric and Fahrudin while Song Lam began the game without Nguyen Huy Hoan, Nguyen Trong Hoang and Hoan Van Binh.
The two sides started the game slowly. The Singaporean players began in high spirit and were confident from the beginning. However, both sides failed to create many scoring chances and the game ended goalless.
In the other match in Group F, Hong Kong champions Kitchee secured their second win after beating Terengganu from Malaysia 2-0 at Sultan Ismail Nasiruddin Shah Stadium in Malaysia.
With the second victory, Kitchee retain their top spot with six points, Terengganu are in second with three points, Song Lam Nghe An and bottom-placed Tampines Rovers have one point each after two games but the Vietnamese side rank higher thanks to the goal difference.
Song Lam Nghe An are in Group F together with Terengganu from Malaysia, the reigning Hong Kong champions Kitchee and Singaporean champions Tampines Rovers while Navibank Saigon are in Group H comprising Arema Indonesia from Indonesia, Ayeyawady United from Myanmar and Kelantan from Malaysia.
Song Lam will meet Kitchee at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground in Hong Kong in their third match while Tampines Rovers will face Terengganu Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore. Both matches will be played on April 4.
On Wednesday, another Vietnamese representatives Navibank Saigon will meet Arema Indonesia in their second match of their 2012 AFC Cup campaign at Thong Nhat Stadium in HCMC.