Group G: Becamex Binh Duong 3-1 Persija Jakarta
Thu Dau Mot: Becamex Binh Duong stayed in contention for place in the 2019 AFC Cup Asean Zonal semi-finals with a 3-1 Group G win over Persija Jakarta on Matchday Five on Wednesday.
With Ceres Negros having already sealed top spot in the group, Binh Duong must now aim for a best runners-up spot. Meanwhile, Persija’s chances of progress in the tournament were ended as they slumped to a third successive defeat.
Victor Mansaray’s direct run had the Persija defence backpedaling in the eighth minute but the American’s shot from 18 yards was straight at Andritany Ardhiyasa.
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In the 17th minute, Ho Tan Tai’s cross from the right was headed against the bar by Mansaray and Nguyen Tien Linh missed a good chance on the rebound.
Persija responded immediately, and Bruno Matos’ shot struck the bar at the other end after good work from Rohit Chand.
After a spell of relative calm, Binh Duong took the lead in the 38th minute. Nguyen Anh Duc controlled a cross from the right and smashed the ball home from 10 yards out.
Persija then came close to an equaliser two minutes from half-time. Chand found Matos in the penalty area and the Brazilian fed it to Bambang Pamungkas whose shot was saved by Bui Tan Truong.
There was an even better chance in added time when Riko Simanjuntak’s low cross found Matos but the striker blazed over from close range.
The visitors paid for the misses as Binh Duong made it 2-0 before half-time. To Van Vu cut inside from the left of the Persija area and curled an excellent shot into the top corner.
Just five minutes into the second half, substitute Wander Luiz put the hosts 3-0 up when he picked the ball up in midfield, advanced forward and fired low into the corner from 20 yards.
Persija’s bad luck in front of goal continued in the 70th minute when Fitra Ridwan played a one-two with Matos before crashing a shot off the bar from an angle.
But just one minute later, the visitors scored when Matos picked the ball up 40 yards out, accelerated past a couple of defenders and found the net with a low shot.
It turned out to be a consolation as the home side comfortably saw out the match.
Binh Duong now need to win on a trip to the Philippines to face group winners Ceres Negros on May 15. On the same day, Persija host bottom side Shan United.
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