Lanexang United FC Challenges Buriram United FC for the Championship Title of Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2016
Finally, we have two contenders for the finals match of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship (TMCC) 2016. Following Lanexang United FC’s huge victory over the former runner-up, Boeung Ket Angkor FC with the 3-0 result in the semi-final, Lao club will play against the defending champion Buriram United FC in the finals. The finals of TMCC 2016 will be played over two legs where both teams will get the opportunity to play at home.
Lanexang United FC was declared as the top club of Lao PDR after winning Lao Premier League 2016 title with 6 points more than the defending champion, Lao Toyota FC. Thus they grabbed the ticket to participate in TMCC2016. They write a great-new story for football in Laos by getting into the finals of TMCC2016. In Round 1, Lanexang United played at home versus SHB Da Nang FC from Vietnam and won a great comeback with 2-1 in the first match. In the second match, they played away from home, a very tough match against Yadanarbon FC in Myanmar and they earned a precious point by a 3-3 draw and advanced to the semi-final as the top team of Round 1. In the semi-final, Lanexang shocked the home fans by beating the champion of Cambodian League, Boeung Ket Angkor FC 3-0.
Brazilian head coach, Leonardo Vitorino has experienced much success with Buriram before moving to Lanexang United. He also succeeded in leading Lanexang United FC to win the top flight and made a new club record by playing 22 matches with 21 matches won and only a match draw in this season. He made the team train at the Lao national stadium because he wants his players to get used to play in real-grass ground and focus with physical–tactics. They added Keoviengphet Lithideth, an experienced midfielder who is in Lao national team and also removed two players including Dutch forward, Melvin from previous match.
The main driving force for Lanexang United are the superstar-strikers in Lao League, Soukaphone Vongchiengkham and Khampheng Xayavutthi. Soukaphone scored three goals and Khampheng scored one goal from previous three matches. Both of them used to play in Thai League which makes them very important in this match against Buriram United FC. Besides that, they have Monolom Phomsuvan and Khonesavan Syhavong, both wingers who can change the game. They also have Montenegrin defender Argzim Redžović and Sengdao Inthilath who are always ready to deal with any situation in defence.
Meanwhile, Buriram United FC is training under the Serbian head coach, Ranko Popovic who has just joined the club since August 2016 in place of the Iranian coach Afshin Ghotbi, whose performance was not good enough. The new Serbian coach has experience coaching Cerezo Osaka in Japanese League and leading the team through final 16 teams in AFC Champions league 2014. In the first round, his team hosted the match and beat Buriram 4-0. In 2015, he moved to Zaragoza FC in Segunda división, Spain before accepting the job in Thailand.
Buriram United has many outstanding players like Brazilian striker, Diogo Luis Santo, as the top scorer in Thai Premier League (TPL) 2015 with 33 goals. Captain Suchao Nutnum and Jakkraphan Kaewprom play as the midfielders and both of them are trusted by the fans. They have Venezuelan Andres Tunez in defence who has a huge body and is also good at heading goals.
This match will be a very close one, with both the teams having the qualities to be the champion. Although Lanexang United FC might lack the experience compared to Buriram United FC, they have been developing their team which has made them a tough team in Lao League. There are top players of Lao League in their team as well. Moreover, they have an extra advantage as their head coach had previously coached Buriram United FC. He knows the other side’s players well and this will be useful for the team.
The finals of Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2016 will be played in home-and-away format. The first leg of the final match will be held on 4th January 2017 at Chao Anouvong Stadium, Vientiane, Lao PDR with Lanexang United FC as the host. The game will start from 18:00 pm. The second match will be played on Sunday 8th January 2017 at Thammasat Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.