HỒ CHÍ MINH CITY — Hoàng Anh Gia Lai Football Club have lost by a last-gasp goal against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors of South Korea in their third match in Group H of the AFC Champions League on Friday.
At a packed Thống Nhất Stadium in HCM City, Kiatisuk Senamuang’s men bravely stalled the Korean Champions’ strikers for 93 minutes, before succumbing to the pressure in the final minute of injury time.
Jefferson Baiano returned to the starting line-up after missing their last game against Sydney FC, pairing with Brazilian compatriot Washington Brandao in the home side’s front two.
The Group H leaders dominated against the home team, controlling 63 per cent of the ball and had most of the chances in the first half. Striker Song Min Kyu had the first shot on target for Jeonbuk in the 12th minute, but keeper Huỳnh Tuấn Linh was quick to deny the Korean.
Five minutes later, HAGL replied with a long range effort from Nguyễn Phong Hồng Duy but the shot was well wide.
In the 36th minute, Nguyễn Công Phượng had a great through pass for Baiano, the striker was in on goal but did not take the shot, rather opting for a dribble and the opportunity was wasted.
Jeonbuk piled on the pressure in the second half with multiple chances in the first 15 minutes. Chances came for Kim Bo-kyung and Iljutchenko, but Huỳnh Tuấn Linh was once again the hero for HAGL, denying the Jeonbuk strikers.
Seeing that the opposition becoming complacent, HAGL were quick to reclaim control of the game and pressured Jeonbuk with counterattacks. The men in white could have sealed the game on 82 minutes when Phượng’s solo effort inside the opposition box ended in a tamed shot that was straight at the keeper.
In the second minute of stoppage time, Mauricio and Nguyễn Hữu Tuấn both went for the ball inside the box, the ball then rebounded to Moon Seon-min, who fired a vicious volley to the top corner, securing the three points for the K-League Champions.
With this result, HAGL still sit bottom of Group H with only one point to their name. Coach Kiatisuk and his team has a mountain to climb if they want to get out of group stage.
They face the Koreans again on Monday, then Japanese giants Yokohama F. Marinos next Thursday. — VNS