Despite conceding first, Viettel FC put five past Laos club Young Elephants to win 5-1 in the opening game of AFC Cup’s group I on Friday afternoon.
Even when missing captain and defender Bui Tien Dung, Viettel’s squad power is still considered stronger than the opponent. The capital club showed domination right in the first minutes with consecutive shots from striker Geovane Magno. However, it was Young Elephants who scored first with a tap-in from Bounphachan Bounkong in the 6th minute.
Conceding early affected the mentality of Viettel players as in the next 30 minutes, they created many chances but couldn’t convert them. Pedro Paolo missed two one-on-one chances against the opponent’s keeper while midfielder Nguyen Duc Hoang Minh got two comfortable tap-ins but he didn’t hit the target.
However, it didn’t take long before Viettel equalized. Magno took a shot which forced the keeper to punch it out, but Paolo was quick to get a bicycle kick and scored. The equalizer took off the pressure from Viettel players and they got another goal from Paolo. This forward also assisted the third goal, which was scored by Hoang Minh.
The 3-1 lead helped Viettel play comfortably after the break. They kept possession in the midfield and didn’t give the guests any chance to deploy an attack. Viettel even pushed forward and posed more threats towards Young Elephants.
In the 70th minute, Paolo completed his hattrick as he received a through ball from Magno and finished with power into the top corner.
Vietnam U23 striker Nham Manh Dung also left his mark in the game with the fifth goal for Viettel, when he accelerated into the box and curled it in, securing the 5-1 win for the hosts.
The thrashing win helped Viettel take the top spot in group I. They will play Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Crown on Sunday.
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