Lanexang United earned a comeback victory by the final score of 2-1 winning over SHB Da Nang and earning an important advantage in the first game of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2016. With the win, they secured an important point and gave them a good chance to compete in the semifinal round.
The Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2016 first round officially began with a match featuring the champions of the Lao Premier League (LPL), Lanexang United hosting the third place finisher of the Vietnamese V-League, SHB Da Nang. On the 5th of November 2016, the teams kicked off at 18:00 in Chao Anouvong Stadium. The atmosphere surrounding the match was spirited and jovial with loud cheers and chants from fans of both teams. A total of 6,885 fans packed Chao Anouvong Stadium. Their enthusiasm made the game more exciting and dynamic.
The game began with both teams attacking early in hopes of winning an advantage. SHB Da Nang had the first chance in the 14th minute. Lanexang’s defense turned the ball over in the midfield. Hong Minh Tam took full advantage and played a brilliant ball to Dang Anh Tuan in the box. The play set up the goal for Nguyen Vu Phong, who’s shot slipped underneath the goalkeeper's arm and into the back of the net. The goal gave SHB Da Nang a 1-0 lead over Lanexang United.
After the goal by Vu Phong, both teams settled down and started to play at a slower pace, perhaps to conserve energy for the second half. Even with the change of pace, Lanexang United still could not play well and was entirely outclassed by their opponent. The sound of the whistle from the referee signaled the end of the first-half with SHB Da Nang FC holding a one nil advantage over Lanexang United.
The second half started with Lanexang United making a tactical change by moving Soukaphone to the centre midfield role and placing a more experienced player into the game. The change had a positive effect for Lanexang United. At the 53rd minute mark, Lanexang received a free-kick outside of the eighteen yard box. Soukaphone head the ball towards the net and gave Lanexang United the equalizer they desperately needed, tying the game at 1-1.
The goal seemed to energize Lanexang United and gave them extra confidence to keep attacking. This was evident in the 74th minute when the team showed tremendous teamwork. They made it 2-1 when Soukaphone’s pass to Manolom Phomsuvanh who assisted Khampheng for a header into the back of the net giving Lanexang United the lead and winning goal. After four minutes of injury time, the final whistle from the referee preserved a victory for the home team.
The head coach of Lanexang United, Leonardo Vitorino said “In the first half we could not play well because we tried to test our newly signed players. They still cannot adapt with our team, so we made changes in the second half and replaced some players. I would like to say thanks for all fans that came to cheer us here and at our home stadium. We will improve football in Laos together. Before the next match we will give our boys a holiday first and come back to training later. We are ready to face the team from Myanmar.”
SHB Da Nang’s head coach Lê Huỳnh Đức said “This match is very difficult but we can make our fans happy both Vietnamese and Lao. Our main problem was the short amount of time we had to prepare and the physical condition of our players. In the second half, we could clearly see our players were fatigued. I believe that if we had more time we could’ve collected the points from this game. However, for the next match we will play at home and we’ll have enough time to prepare our team. We will win the match for sure. Finally, I would like to say thanks to the fans both in the stadium here and in Vietnam. We will not disappoint them for the next match.”
The Man of the match was awarded to Lanexang United’s Soukaphone. He said “Lanexang United is a good team, as the coach always reminded us. For winning the game today, we believed in each other. Although, in the first half, we fell behind but our teammates kept inspiring us and we did our best to steal the advantage back for our team. We showed them Lanexang’s spirit and that we are Lanexang United from Laos. Finally we did it. ”
For SHB Da Nang, they go back to Vietnam to play in Hanoi versus Yadanarbon on 23rd December. Lanexang United gave all they had and left the pitch with a victory and gave them the important advantage of three points heading into their next match. Lanexang United will play away from home in Myanmar against Yadanarbon on 27th December. If Lanexang United can win this match they will advance to the semi-finals.