Preliminary Stage 2: Eastern SC 2-4 FLC Thanh Hoa
Hong Kong: FLC Thanh Hoa survived a late Eastern SC fightback to win 4-2 at the Mongkok Stadium on Tuesday as Hoang Dinh Tung's second half hat-trick earned Marian Mihail’s men a place in the play-off stage of the AFC Champions League 2018 on Tuesday.
Vietnam side Tanh Hoa, who finished runners-up in their domestic V.League 1 last season, were trailing 1-0 after Michel Lugo fired Eastern into the lead after 25 minutes of play.
It was not before long Pape Omar Faye evened proceedings from the penalty spot, slotting home six minutes later.
After the break, it was the Hoang show as the hitman fired quickfire goals in the 59th and 60th minutes but Eastern scored from the spot through Manuel Bleda Rodriguez in the 64th minute to make it 3-2.
Hoang claimed his third and Thanh Hoa's fourth in stoppage time as the Vietnamese side advanced into the next round for a showdown with Suwon Samsung Bluewings on January 30 in Seoul.
The Preliminary Stage winners will join four clubs from the East Zone in the play-offs, which will feature China's Tianjin Quanjian, Kashiwa Reysol of Japan, two-time AFC Champions League winners Suwon Samsung Bluewings and last year’s semi-finalists Shanghai SIPG FC.
The Play-off Stage will be played on January 30. The Group Stage commences on February 12.
Photos: Hong Kong Football Association