Nam Dinh, Vietnam's national cup champion, took the lead of 0-1 at half-time, but eventually lost 1-3 to China's Beijing Guoan in the F group game at AFC Champions League 2008 at My Dinh national stadium here Wednesday.
Fourteen minutes into the match, Vietnamese defender Le Van Duyet drove the ball to the cross bar from close range, defeating Chinese goalie Yang Zhi. After the goal, Chinese players frequently launched attacks by using high shots, forcing Vietnamese goalkeeper Bui Quang Huy make four fine saves.
Chinese striker Yan Xiangchuang netted twice, and his compatriot Du Wenhui scored once in the second half. Twelve minutes after the break, Yan equalized the score with a powerful shot just outside the box after smooth coordination with his teammates. Three minutes later, Du defeated the Vietnamese goalie with a close-range shot after taking advantage of a blitz attack from the mid-field.
Chinese players had an upper hand in the second half, keeping the ball most of the time. In the last minute of the match, Vietnamese players deployed a rapid attack in hope of leveling the score, leaving space for Yan to drive the ball to the empty net, sealing the 3-1 victory for his side.
Lee Jang-soo, Korean coach of Beijing Guoan, said after the match that the club came to Vietnam to get their first three points. "Our players performed under their capacity today," he said.
Nam Dinh's coach Nguyen Ngoc Hao said his players, especially foreign ones made many mistakes. "We are still inexperienced, while Chinese players have good professional skills," he said. In the 78th minute, Nam Dinh's Nigerian midfielder Emmanuel Ejike Onyeji received the second yellow card in the game.
Beijing Guoan will clash with Thailand's Krung Thai Bank, and Nam Dinh will face Japan's Kashima Antlers on March 19.
At the Asian soccer event, 28 clubs, including two from China and two from Vietnam, are competing with each other in seven groups in the qualifying round in a home-and-away format. Two winners of each group will advance to the quarterfinals.