HCM City extend unbeaten AFC Cup run with 2-0 win over Lao Toyota

Wednesday, 2020-03-11 10:05:23
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Nguyen Xuan Nam (L) celebrates scoring for Ho Chi Minh City.
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NDO – Substitute Nguyen Xuan Nam grabbed a brace to help Ho Chi Minh City FC thump Lao Toyota 2-0 away on March 10 to extend their Group F lead in the 2020 AFC Cup.

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Coming off the bench to replace a disappointing Amido Balde, the 26-year-old forward needed only 10 minutes to break the deadlock for Chung Hae-seong’s side before completing his double on the stroke of full time.

The convincing victory allowed HCM City to maintain their unbeaten run in the AFC’s second-tier competition, staying at the top of the group with seven points after three matches, ahead of Myanmar’s Yangon United on goal difference.

Confronting the weakest opponents in Group F, the Vietnamese side faced little difficulty in setting the pace of the match right from the first whistle.

HCM City could have moved two goals in front before half time if Amido Balde had made better use of his opportunities.

Two minutes into the match, Balde met Cong Phuong’s favourable pass with a close-range header which, however, was too “gentle” to beat Lao Toyota keeper Soukthavy Soundala.

HCM City forward Amido Balde (L) plays under form during their match with Lao Toyota.

Another clear-cut chance came for the Guiné-Bissau forward in the 12th minute, but he shot incredibly wide in front of the empty net.

After the break, manager Chung Hae-seong decided to withdraw out-of-form Balde and give the opportunity to Nguyen Xuan Nam, who once scored 14 goals in the Lao Premier League 2015.

It immediately proved to be the right choice as just a few minutes from his appearance, Xuan Nam opened the scoring for the guests with a powerful left-footed strike in a one-on-one with Soundala.

Nguyen Xuan Nam (no. 11) has scored two braces for Ho Chi Minh City in only four days, including one against Quang Nam FC in V.League 1 and one against Lao Toyota in the AFC Cup.

On the stroke of full time, the Hai Duong-born forward completed his brace to seal a fabulous 2-0 win for HCM City. Taking a cross from Cong Hien, Xuan Nam skilfully handled the ball in the box before placing a shot toward the far corner, leaving no chance for goalie Soundala to make a save.

With seven points from three matches, Chung’s side have put one foot in the AFC Cup knock-out stage as their remaining clashes will be play on home ground.

Next up for HCM City will be a home clash against Lao Toyota on April 15.