Nguyen Cong Phuong scored in the second match in a row at the Asian Football Confederation Cup in HCM City’s 3-2 win over hosts Hougang United on Tuesday in Singapore.
HCM City striker Nguyen Cong Phuong (left) on the ball during the AFC Cup match against Hougang on Monday. HCM City won 3-2. Photo the-afc.com
Phuong opened the scoring in the 14th minute, tapping home a pass from captain Tran Phi Son who broke into the box after leaving two Hougang defenders behind.
The national striker was also denied by the post and goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid in the second half.
Amido Balde wasted a string of good chances before finally heading home in the final minute of the first half with another assist from Son.
HCM City continued to dominate their hosts in the second half and Guinea-Bissau striker Balde completed his double on 57 minutes.
Phuong’s attempt was denied by Khalid onto the post from close range, but the ball ricocheted to Sơn for him to supply his third assist of the match for Balde to head home.
The visitors seemed to be in control until goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung brought down Shawal Anuar in the box.
It was national U23 goalie Dung's forst outing in the first team since he moved to HCM City five months ago, but he received a yellow card and failed to save from Stipe Plazibat, who narrowed the result to 3-2 three minutes later from a counter-attack.
The win pushed HCM City into second place in Group F while Hougang are down to third.
In the other match in Group F, Myanmar’s Yangon United held off Lao Toyota FC to secure a 3-2 win in their clash at Thuwanna Stadium.
Yangon top the table and will next play Hougang on March 10. At the same time, HCM City will host bottom-placed Lao Toyota at Thong Nhat Stadium.
In other games, Than Quang Ninh earned their first point with a 2-2 draw against the Filipino Ceres Negros in Group G on Monday.
Jeremie Lynch opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, heading home Quach Tran Giang Tan’s corner to push the visiting side ahead.
Bienvenido Maranon levelled for the hosts in the additional time in the first half with a penalty.
OJ Porteria lifted Ceres Negros ahead after leaving Quang Ninh’s defenders behind in the 62nd minute.
Midfielder Nguyen Hai Huy netted eight minutes later, pulling one point back for the Vietnamese side.
In Group G, Cambodian champions Preah Khan Reach Svay Rieng FC defeated Bali United FC 2-1 at home.
Next, Quang Ninh will visit Svay Rieng while Ceres Negros will host Bali United on March 11. VNS
Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong will be tasked with leading HCM City FC's attack against Hougang United in the southern side's second match of Group F in the AFC Cup in Singapore today.