Vietnamese champions Hanoi FC secured their progression with a 1-0 victory over Bangkok United, courtesy of a late penalty strike from Nguyen Van Quyet. This result sees the home side fall at the first hurdle for the second time, after being eliminated by Malaysian Champions JDT on penalities back in 2017. To discuss the implications of this result, Football Tribe Thailand’s Obb Deewajin and Football Tribe Vietnam’s Tran Tien walk us through the five main takeaways from this game.
High Expectations for Bangkok United
Over 5800 spectators turned up at the Thammasat University Stadium (or True Stadium) for Bangkok United's AFC Champions League qualifying match against Hanoi FC. This was a big increase from the average of 2909 (home) or 3621 (home & away) league attendance in 2018. Additionally, when compared to last season's home attendance, the V.League Champions were one of the biggest matchups, with only the visits of Muangthong and Buriram drawing bigger crowds. Growing interest by fans may be thanks to the numerous big-name signing in the transfer window. Supporters were expecting results, but unfortunately, that didn't happen.
Hanoi striker Ganiyu Oseni played a poor game when he had so many one-on-one chances which he failed to convert into goals. The only highlight from him in this match was the situation leading to the penalty at the end of the match.
New Signings Need Time to Adjust
Mano Polking is known for his electrifying attacking football but Tuesday's game was below par, to say the least. "The Angels" struggled to get into their rhythm in the first half, as evidenced by many simple miss-passes the side made. Anon was lost in the sea of purple as he failed to connect with teammates behind him when building possession. Bonilla faded away as the game went on. BUFC didn't take advantage of Peerapat and Tristan Do's width until they started switching play with long-balls in the 2nd half. This squad has all the right ingredients, and all they need now is to keep their heads up and take time to gel.
Vander Luiz Shines in a Disappointing Night
Brazilian maestro Vander Luiz was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. The attacking midfielder's excellent dribbling skills help take the pressure off his team on many occasions. His switching of play and change of speed to beat defenders down the flanks were thrilling to watch. The introduction of defensive midfielder Thossawat Limwannasthian handed Vander Luiz the freedom to roam and he became the source of everything good the home side created.
Trip to China for Hanoi
The Vietnamese champions are now only one game away from an appearance in the group stage of the AFC Champions League. They now face a daunting trip to face Shangdong Luneng next week, in the hopes of securing progression against the likes of Graziano Pelle and Marouane Fellaini. After Vietnam's remarkable achievements at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, the nation's strongest side will be hoping to be the flagbearers for yet another inspiring run.