Binh Duong (VNS/VNA) – Ten-man Becamex Binh Duong battled to a 1-0 victory over PSM Makassar at home in the first leg of the AFC Cup’s ASEAN Zonal semi-finals.
Substitute striker Nguyen Tien Linh headed in the only goal in the 80th minute to give his side the advantage before the second leg next week in Indonesia.
With the home crowd spurring them on, Binh Duong tested Makassar goalkeeper Rivky Mokodompit early through To Van Vu and national team striker Nguyen Anh Duc.
The best chance to open the scoring fell to veteran midfielder Le Tan Tai in the 43rd minute, but his shot from close range was blocked by Makassar defenders.
The game turned in the 50th minute as midfielder Nguyen Trung Tin received his second yellow card for a high challenge and was sent off, putting the Vietnamese on the back foot.
Despite their numerical advantage the away side failed to truly threaten Binh Duong’s goal, and they would soon come to rue their profligacy.
Linh was brought on after 75 minutes and he duly rewarded coach Nguyen Thanh Son, breaking the offside trap to nod into the bottom left corner five minutes later.
They nearly doubled the score when Mokodompit conceded an indirect free-kick in his own penalty area after he picked up a pass from defender Aaron Evans, but Ali Rabo wasted the chance as his shot went wide.
“I have returned to competition after injury. I won coaching staff’s trust and was given a chance to play in this match. I thought that I should do something to repay them,” said Linh.
“The goal is important for our club. We have an advantage ahead of the second match next week,” he said.
Meanwhile coach Son said after the goalless first half and Tin’s second yellow card he made some changes and it worked well. Meanwhile Makassar, who were unbeaten in the group stage, struggled going forward.
Son said he was not afraid of the Indonesian side whose defenders performed poorly.
Next Wednesday, Binh Duong will travel to meet Makassar on their home turf at the Pakansari Stadium in Bogor.-VNS/VNA
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