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AFC Cup

  • April 24, 2012
  • • 19:00
  • • Sân vận động Thống Nhất (Thong Nhat Stadium), Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh (Ho Chi Minh City)
  • Referee: S. Singh
  • • Attendance: 1500
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Navibank 1-2 Kelantan: Red Warriors virtually seal qualification with late comeback win

Navibank 1-2 Kelantan: Red Warriors virtually seal qualification with late comeback win

Zeng Liwei

Two goals in three minutes gives the Red Warriors victory in Vietnam and virtually seals their qualification to the last 16 of the AFC Cup

Kelantan scored twice in three minutes late in the match as the Malaysian side came from a goal down to beat Navibank Saigon 2-1 on Tuesday to put themselves within touching distance of a spot in the last 16 of the AFC Cup.

Edison Fonseca put the Vietnamese side ahead at the Thong Nhat Stadium after 34 minutes and it appeared for a long time that the Colombian's seventh goal of the competition might be enough to send them through to the knockout rounds.

But Indra Putra Mahayuddin equalised with a superb free-kick in the 80th minute and Lebanese striker Mohamad Ghaddar then netted his seventh goal of the AFC Cup three minutes later to give the Malaysian Super League champions the win.

Kelantan moved three points clear at the top of Group H but Ayeyawady United's surprise 3-0 home loss to Arema Indonesia earlier in the day meant that they still need a point from their final home game against the Myanmar side in a fortnight's time to confirm their place in the Round of 16.

Fonseca had an effort ruled out for offside in the 25th minute but it did not take too long for the Colombian to make his mark as he put the home side ahead nine minutes later.

Luong Van Duoc Em made a strong run into the Kelantan box on the right and cut the ball back across goal. Nguyen Duy Khanh just failed to make contact at the near post but Fonseca was on hand 10 metres out to sweep the ball home.

With star striker Ghaddar on the bench nursing a thigh problem, Kelantan made few inroads into the Navibank defence in the first half. However, the Lebanese striker was introduced just before the hour mark and the Malaysian side began to look more threatening as the game entered its closing stages.

Ghaddar was denied superbly by Navibank goalkeeper Pham Van Santos in the 75th minute when he found space on the left of the box.

He then won a free kick on the edge of the Navibank box five minutes later, which Indra Putra fired unerringly into the left side of the net with Santos rooted to the spot.

And shortly afterwards, Ghaddar pounced when the ball dropped between two defenders just outside the Navibank box and advanced towards goal before he chipped a superb finish past Santos to give the Malaysian side all three points.

Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak admitted that his side may have been fortunate to get the crucial win.

"In the first half, Navibank played well and controlled the game. But I understand that my players were tired because of our tight schedule in the Malaysian league and FA Cup and the AFC Cup so I needed to rotate them," said the Croatian.

"In the second half, I made a few changes and we were lucky in the last 10 minutes that we managed to score a goal from an Indra Putra free kick and another from Ghaddar.

"On the first day of the tournament when we meet Navibank, I strongly believed that both teams would go through to the next round and I still believe that now because Navibank are a very good team."

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