Lanexang United FC and Yadanarbon FC Fighting for the Spot in the Semi-Final
The second match of the group stages of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship (TMCC) between Vietnam’s SHB Da Nang FC, and Yadanarbon FC from Myanmar was a rollercoaster of a game at My Dinh stadium that ended in a well-fought draw and regret of spurned chances from Danang FC.
From kick off, home team SHB Da Nang FC, who had to win to keep their dreams of a trip to the semi-final alive, took the game by the scruff of the neck with aggressive attacking. After several missed chances, you sensed a goal was coming and David Britez of Da Nang did just that. He netted with an accurate header in the 21st minute, from a well-placed free kick by Nguyen Vu Phong. After the first goal, SHB Da Nang FC had plenty of chances to widen the lead, but failed to do so with errors and errant passes. SHB Da Nang FC was forced to pay the price for their profligacy in front of goal, when Myo Zaw Oo successfully equalized the game just before the half-time whistle to boost Yadanarbon’s spirits going into the break.
Entering the second half, SHB Da Nang FC was struggling to string together attacks and the tide turned as Yadanarbon FC notched another goal to make it 2-1. Latching on to a pass from his teammate, Esoh Omogba skillfully pierced through the defense line, avoiding the off-side trap, to slot the ball past the goalkeeper, Thanh Binh. But moments later, due to the topsy-turvy nature of the game, SHB Da Nang FC was awarded a clear penalty from Yadarnabon’s defender handling the ball in the box. Up stepped, SHB Da Nang FC’s Merlo capitalized and coolly netted the equalizer.
Following the equalizer, it was all one way with Da Nang controlling possession and creating a multitude of chances. However, it was one of those days for the Vietnamese side as they simply couldn’t convert the numerous fruits of their creativity into a winning goal. In the 86th minute Merlo’s attempt careered of posts and back-out, misfortunate in the extreme. What began as an up and down extravaganza, eventually petered out for a draw.
With this result, SHB Da Nang FC was eliminated from the tournament, and head coach Le Huynh Duc could not hide his regret at the post-match press conference. He said, “It is hard to accept the result when you create so many chances but we couldn’t get the break we needed. We are obviously disappointed with the result, but we give credit to the team for giving it their best.”
“So many passionate supporters came to cheer us on and I was moved by the support they gave us. It felt like having a 12th player on the field with them behind us. The turnout is a testament to the interest Vietnamese have in TMCC and the passion for football as a whole. I know our players were proud to play in front of a national crowd and did everything they could to steal a win. Sadly, this was not our day and we give credit to Yadarnabon for hanging on.”
Sharing the view of the head coach, Nguyen Vu Phong, captain of SHB Da Nang FC said, “It is even more painful to accept the results when you create so many chances, but that’s the nature of football!”
The head coach of Yadanarbon FC, René Desaeyere, argued it was a fair result. He said “Both teams put on a great display of attacking the ball for the fans, which is what they came to see. A draw was deserved for both sides. I am hoping that we can keep up this intensity and attacking mentality in the next fixture against Lanexang United. TMCC is a good platform for us to prepare for the AFC cup, and also gives us exposure to Vietnamese football.”
Yadanarbon FC Forward Aung Thu who made a cameo appearance after his recent exerts in the AFF Cup 2016 said, “It was a very good match. Even though I was on only briefly, I gave it my all and am proud of what the team achieved here today.”
After the second round, Lanexang United from Laos still leads the group with 3 points, followed by Yadanarbon FC. SHB Da Nang FC will not make it to the TMCC semi-final due to this draw. If Yadanarbon can beat Lanexang United on the 27th of December 2016, they will progress. A draw still leaves the Laotian team to the semi-final.