TMCC Tournament Review 2015
The Toyota Mekong Club Championship 2015 drew to a close on Sunday, December 20, with Buriram United of Thailand winning the ultimate prize in a 1-0 win over Boeung Ket Angkor FC of Cambodia in the final.
Despite going down to a single penalty goal from Buriram’s influential Venezuelan defender Andres Tunez, the Cambodian side had navigated a tough route to the final, overcoming strong teams from Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Boeung Ket Angkor’s first win came on the opening day of the tournament, as a double from tournament top goal-scorer and MVP Chan Vathanaka led Prak Sovannara’s men to a 2-0 win away to Lao Premier League Champions Lao Toyota FC on November 1. Lao Toyota were thoroughly outclassed by the visitors, as stars like Kazuo Homma and Frederic Pooda were stifled by the staunch Boeung Ket defence.
With Lao Toyota FC losing their opener, the club were in desperate need of a victory in the tournament’s second fixture – away to Yangon United, winners of the 2015 Myanmar National League. Unfortunately for David Booth’s Lao Toyota, Yangon United – thanks to new signing Adilson Dos Santos Souza – buried five goals beyond the Lao Toyota ‘keeper as they ran out 5-2 winners at Yangon’s Thuwunna Youth Training Centre.
So on TMCC match day three, Boeung Ket would welcome Yangon United to Cambodia for a match which would decide which of the two clubs would go through to a coveted semi-final against defending champions Becamex Binh Duong FC. Much to the shock of Yangon fans, Boeung Ket were ruthless as they served Yangon a shock 3-0 defeat at Phnom Penh’s National Olympic Stadium, putting the Cambodians through to the next round. Speaking after the final whistle, Yangon head coach Emerson praised the quality of the Cambodian side’s younger players. “Vathanaka I think is just one of many” he said. “They have a good young generation developing and I have seen this for a few years. It’s impressive” he added.
Becamex Binh Duong were Boeung Ket’s next opponents and their stiffest challenge in the tournament thus far, as the clubs met on December 6 at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium for their vital semi-final. The Vietnamese side had won the 2015 Toyota V.League 1 just months before at a canter and were the Toyota Mekong Club Championship defending champions.
Boeung Ket however were not overwhelmed by the occasion, as Vathanaka nabbed a superb hat-trick and helping his side to a 3-2 win to send the underdogs through to an unprecedented final against Thai juggernauts Buriram United.
Ultimately for Boeung Ket, the final in Bangkok’s Supachalasai Stadium was one step too far, as Buriram controlled the game from start to finish and netted a solitary second-half penalty kick to capture the second edition of the Toyota Mekong Club Championship.
Buriram United, under the leadership of Alexandre Gama, were an unbeatable force in 2015 as the side from the Thunder Castle led from the front through Diogo Luis Santo and Gilberto Macena.
The Toyota Mekong Club Championship was the club’s fourth trophy in a glittering season which saw Buriram dubbed the ‘Invincibles’ thanks to their unbelievable record in 2015.