Analysis: 10-man Binh Duong stun off-colour Makassar
Thu Dau Mot City: PSM Makassar were unable to make the most of their man advantage as Vietnam’s Becamex Binh Duong struck late to seal a 1-0 victory in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal semi-final to ensure they take a slender lead to Indonesia next week.
The win was Binh Duong’s fifth in a row in the Continental competition while the result also marked Makassar’s first defeat in a game that they will have been bitterly disappointed to have got nothing from.
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Chances few and far between
The hosts went into the match on the back of a four-game winning run but were up against the only unbeaten side in the ASEAN Zone. However, an uneventful opening 45 minutes saw little goalmouth action and no shots on target.
Five minutes into the second half, the visitors were handed the initiative when Binh Duong defender Nguyen Trung Tin was dismissed for a second bookable offence, but Makassar were unable to trouble the home rear guard.
80' GOAL! 1-0 Becamex Binh Duong— FOX Sports LIVE! (@FSAsiaLive) June 19, 2019
Tan Tai delivers a wonderful ball into the box and Tien Linh makes it count with a superb header! The 10-man are in the lead!#BBDvPSM #AFCCup2019 pic.twitter.com/YxK1ci6Tmx
It took until midway through the half for either side to have an effort in target, with the hosts’ Le Tan Tai’s fizzing free-kick from a narrow angle forcing Rivki Mokodompit to punch clear.
While the game livened up from then on with both teams registering more shots on goal, there was just one further attempt on target, with Nguyen Tien Linh’s header finally breaking the deadlock to ultimately maintain Binh Duong’s winning run.
Le Tan Tai the difference
Having not appeared in the Continental competition since Matchday Four, experienced midfielder Tan Tai has returned from injury in recent weeks and he was arguably the difference in a largely uneventful contest.
Only Makassar defenders Asnawi Bahar and Taufuk Hidayat touched the ball more than the 35-year-old’s 65 touches, while his 40 successful passes was bettered only by another defender, the visitors’ Aaron Evans.
But while the trio of defenders generally had possession in non-threatening areas, Tan Tai was the main threat going forward, with the three chances he created for his teammates more than any other player on the pitch.
Five efforts on goal was also more than anyone else and it came as little surprise that it was the midfielder’s inch-perfect ball into the penalty area that set up Tien Linh’s winning goal.
Markkanen’s absence felt
That Makassar were unable to register a shot on target across the 90 minutes (below) may, in part, be attributed to the fact their striker Eero Markkanen was left on the bench until the 84th minute.
With five goals to his name, the Finnish marksman is the Indonesian team’s top scorer in the tournament and – despite now playing two fewer games than some of his teammates – still has the highest number of shots on target (7).
The 27-year-old is making his way back after suffering from a short illness and head coach Darije Kalezic decided not to risk him from the start, opting only to introduce him once falling behind.
Markkanen had little opportunity to show what he is capable of but he will surely return to the starting line-up for the second leg next week in a game which Makassar must score to have any chance of progressing.
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