Hong Kong: Vietnamese Super Cup champions XM Vissai Ninh Binh logged an emphatic 3-1 victory away against South China in their first ever AFC Cup game, dashing the hopes of the Hong Kong League champions to redeem themselves following their second round exit from the AFC Champions League play-offs earlier this month.
Jamaican striker Kavin Bryan opened the scoring on the 12th minute with Van Ta Dinh doubling the lead halfway through the first period.
And just five minutes after the restart, Patiyo Tambwe put the game to bed by netting a third, although Chan Siu Ki did notch a consolation for the Caroliners on 57 minutes.
The Vietnamese side hardly seemed hampered by their loss of injured striker Moussa Sanogo, as their new signings Bryan and Tambwe were both on target and towering Romanian Petrisor Voinea was an ever useful focal point of their attacks.
“We’ve studied South China hard this past week, watching videos of their games together with the players,” said Vissai coach Nguyen Van Sy.
“We managed to strictly follow our plan and are very happy with the result. South China is one of the strongest teams in this group.
“Our new players performed very well today, and they keep getting better every day. I’m very happy about the way we stood up in the second half as we came under pressure.”
Bryan shot the visitors ahead in the 12th minute after Voinea swept through on the right side to serve the Jamaican a one-on-one situation with keeper Yapp Hung Fai.
The Hong Kong side continued to struggle on the left flank, and were once again punished in the 26th minute as a wayward header was picked up by Ta Dinh, who handsomely converted with a 20-yard strike into the goalkeeper’s right corner.
For most of the first half South China laboured to show their strengths both defensively and offensively, with their first attempt on target arriving only in the 34th minute.
The home team managed to build some pressure in the second half, but by the time they got their name on the scoresheet, with Chan heading in a corner in the 57th, Tambwe had already put the Vietnamese side ahead by three.
“In the second half we played more aggressively, but we missed our chances,” said South China coach Yeung Ching Kwong.
“They played with a very good pace and their strategy of overlapping on our wing left us exposed time after time.
“Of course we are disappointed, but Vissai played a very good game and it was a reasonable result.”