Malaysian League champions Kelantan suffer loss in Myanmmar, giving Ayeyawady United a historic first win in the AFC Cup
The hosts took an early lead at the Youth Training Centre through an Obinna Nwaneri own goal and extended their advantage when Aung Kyaw Myo scored a fine solo goal shortly before half-time.
Lebanese striker Mohammed Ghaddar cut the deficit for Kelantan midway through the second half but Jupiter Ngangue’s late goal settled the match for Ayeyawady, who are unbeaten and have four points after their first two matches in Group H.
Playing for the first time at home in the AFC Cup, the home side were gifted the lead after only six minutes following an inexplicable own goal by Nwaneri. The Nigerian defender was under no pressure at all when a hopeful cross was pumped in from the left flank but he stuck his leg out to cut it off and diverted the ball into his own net with his right shin.
The visitors should have levelled the score in the 15th minute when a low cross from the right found Ghaddar all alone just outside the six-yard box but the Lebanese forward turned the ball wide when it looked much easier to score.
The hosts extended their lead after a fine solo effort by Aung Kyaw Myo four minutes before half-time. The midfielder controlled the ball on the right of the Kelantan box and eluded the sliding challenge of Zairul Fitree Ishak before he lashed the ball past goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.
Ghaddar managed to pull a goal back for the Red Warriors when he tucked the ball away at the second attempt after his penalty had been saved by goalkeeper Thiha Si Thu in the 65th minute.
But Cameroonian striker Ngangue would have the last word, putting the result beyond doubt when he was found alone in the box by Nay Lin Aung and tucked the ball away neatly for Ayeyawady’s third goal 10 minutes from time.
Kelantan coach Bojan Hodak claimed that the absence of a number of his key players played a part in their loss. Defenders S. Subramaniam and Azizi Mat Rose and striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha all missed the trip to Yangon because of injury.
“Some of our key players are carrying injuries and so I couldn’t bring them here. As a result, our team didn’t perform very well in this match,” said the Croatian.
“Although we had chances throughout the match, we could not turn those chances to goals.”
Ayeyawady United coach Josef Herel was delighted with the result but warned his side not to rest on their laurels yet.
“I didn't expect we would beat them with this sort of result,” said the Slovakian.
“I'm happy for the three points but I know that if their key players who have got injuries at the moment play in the next match, they will be a very tough team and we will have to try much harder.”