AFC Cup: Cong Phuong scores as HCM City edge past Hougang United

Wednesday, 2020-02-26 12:43:21
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Forward Nguyen Cong Phuong (no. 21) celebrates with teammates after opening the scoring for Ho Chi Minh City.
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NDO – An opener by Nguyen Cong Phuong and a brace by Amido Balde helped reigning V.League 1 runners-up Ho Chi Minh City battle their way to a 3-2 away victory against Singapore’s Hougang United on matchday two of the 2020 AFC Cup on February 25.

>>> AFC Cup: Cong Phuong on target as HCM City draw 2-2 against Yangon United

After getting on the scoreboard to earn Chung Hae-seong’s side an opening 2-2 draw at Myanmar’s Yangon United a fortnight ago, the forward duo continued to deliver a brilliant display at Kallang’s Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday to send HCM City to the top of Group F with four points.

The Vietnamese representatives successfully set the pace of the match right from the first whistle, with Cong Phuong threatening to score after just eight minutes with a powerful shot at keeper Khairulhin Khalid.

The new contract of HCM City needed only seven more minutes to prove his value, as he met captain Tran Phi Son’s cross from the right flank with a one-touch finish to put the guests in front.

Inspired by the opening goal, Chung Hae-seong’s troops played more comfortably and created several opportunities to double their advantage.

After wasting two successive chances, foreign striker Amido Balde widened the gap for HCM City on the strokes of halftime with a cunning header at the low right corner following an accurate long pass from Phi Son.

Amido Balde (C) celebrates scoring for HCM City. (Photo: AFC)

HCM City’s lopsided dominance continued after the break, with the attacking trio Cong Phuong, Amido Balde and Phi Son constantly putting the Singaporean side’s goal in danger.

The score was almost nearly extended for the visitors in the 52nd minute, but the three consecutive attempts by Phi Son, Hoang Thinh and Amido Balde could not beat goalkeeper Khairulhin Khalid.

At the hour mark, Cong Phuong skilfully dribbled the ball inside the opponents’ penalty box, but his final shot was parried by a Hougang United defender. The ball then found the position of Phi Son, who delivered his third assist in the match enabling Balde to head home to complete his double and make it 3-0 for HCM City.

While it had seemed to be a straight win for Chung Hae-seong’s side, surprise came in the last minutes of play.

Cong Phuong (no. 21) plays a brilliant match against Hougang United. (Photo: AFC)

In the 76th minute, Hougang United were awarded a penalty as a result of HCM City goalie Bui Tien Dung’s infringement inside the box. Plazibat did not spurn such a golden chance to pull back a goal for the home team.

The no. 9 forward also reduced the score to 2-3 just four minutes later. However, that was also the last stir created by the Singaporean representatives.

With the narrow 3-2 victory, HCM City climbed to top of Group F level with Myanmar’s Yangon United on four points but better in terms of away goals (2:0).

Contrary to HCM City’s flying run, the other Vietnamese club, Quang Ninh Coal, continued to perform poorly with a 2-2 away draw against Ceres–Negros of the Philippines. After the first two matchdays, Phan Thanh Hung’s side are temporarily sitting at the bottom of Group G with only one point.