A game of four penalties saw Viettel FC of Vietnam emerge 5-2 winners against Singapore’s Hougang United to win top spot of the AFC Cup 2022 Group I on Thursday.
The Vietnamese side finished their group stage with the full nine points to advance to the ASEAN Zonal Semi-finals. Hougang, meanwhile, will have to wait for Group H to conclude later on Thursday to know their fate with the best runners-up from the three groups to also advance.
It took 15 minutes for the first penalty and first goal of the night to arrive when Nguyen Duc Hoang Minh brought Sahil Suhaimi down inside the box as he prepared to shoot following a short corner.
Pedro Bortoluzo stepped up and sent the Singaporean goalkeeper the wrong way from the spot for his third goal of the campaign, putting Hougang United ahead.
Farhan Zulkifli was adjudged to have handled Bui Duy Thuong’s cross inside his area, prompting the referee to point to the spot and it was another Brazilian in Pedro Paulo who converted the penalty at the other end to bring Viettel level two minutes before the break.
A handball from Hougang United’s Croatian midfielder Kristijan Krajcek resulted in a third penalty and Paulo kept his composure to make it a brace with a powerful effort from the spot in the 43rd minute.
There was still time for yet another penalty and another goal before the break and this time it belonged to the Singaporeans. Nguyen Duc Chien was the culprit behind the handball and Bortoluzo matched his compatriot Paulo to make it a personal double and restore parity at half time.
Viettel took the lead again 10 minutes after the restart as Nguyen Duc Hoang Minh met Nham Manh Dung’s cross first time into the back of the net for 3-2.
This time, there was no way back for the Singaporean side as Geovane Magno further cemented the group hosts’ lead with a quickfire double salvo in the 70th and 72nd minutes.
For his first, the Brazilian charged into the box and found the bottom corner with his left, then he cut inside from the left and aimed for the same spot successfully, but with his right two minutes later to complete a 5-2 win.
This also means Hougang United has been eliminated from the competition, with the 2nd best placed team in the Asean zone goes to Kedah Darul Aman FC.
Source: Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
Date: 30 June 2022, Thursday
Stadium: Thong Nhat Stadium, Ho Chi Minh City
Kick-off: 5pm local time, 6pm (SGT)
Half-time: Viettel FC 2-2 Hougang United
Full-time: Viettel FC 5-2 Hougang United
Viettel FC: Pedro 40’ (Pen), 43’ (Pen), Nguyen Duc 55’, Geovane 70’, 72’
Hougang United: Pedro 15’ (Pen), 45’+1 (Pen)