AFC Cup: Vissai Ninh Binh 4-2 Churchill Brothers – Goan club eliminated
Vissai Ninh Binh 4 (Van Thang 23, Woon Sub 28, Van Quyen 67, 88)
Churchill Brothers 2 (Balwant 21, Shabana 76)
Vissai Ninh Binh: Nguyen Van Phong; Nguyen Minh Tung, Sim Woon Sub, Le Phuoc Tu, Le Quoc Huong; Nguyen Duc Linh (Nguyen Xuan Tinh 89), Phạm Van Quy, Tran Van Cuong, Hoang Danh Ngọc (Le Ngọc Nam 79); Le Van Thang, Phạm Van Quyen
Churchill Brothers: Lalit Thapa; Satish Singh, Naveen Kumar, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Raju Yumnam; Bineesh Balan (Warren Rebello 66), Abdelhamid Shabana, Micky Fernandes, Jaison Vales; Anthony Wolfe, Balwant Singh
Churchill Brothers suffered a 4-2 defeat away at Vietnam’s Vissai Ninh Binh on Tuesday evening to crash out from the round of 16 stage of the 2014 AFC Cup.
Balwant Singh put the Indian club in front but goals from Le Van Thang and Sim Woon Sub gave the hosts a 2-1 halftime lead. Veteran striker Pham Van Quyen, who had come out of retirement for his farewell game, increased Vissai’s Ninh Binh’s advantage in the second period.
Egyptian Abdelhamid Shabana pulled one back for the Goan side but Van Quyen sealed the Vietnam club’s place in the last eight with another goal in the 88th minute.
There was only one surprise in the Churchill Brothers eleven as young Satish Singh started at right back ahead of India international Denzil Franco while Bineesh Balan was also in the lineup despite being out of action for a month.
Vissai Ninh Binh coach Nguyen Van Sy had to prepare for this game with only 16 players and thus didn’t have too many choices for his lineup. Only one goalkeeper was named in the match squad with South Korean midfielder Woon Sub being the only foreigner.
It was an even contest in the early stages but Van Quyen looked very dangerous and caused problems to the Churchill backline.
The visitors looked comfortable in possession and took the lead when Balwant latched on to a pass from Balan and slotted the ball past Nguyen Van Phong. It was the India international’s 17th goal in all competitions.
But Churchill’s lead didn’t last for long as Van Thang equalised with a shot from the outside the box. Five minutes later Vissai Ninh Binh completed the turnaround as Woon Sub made it 2-1 with Van Quyen providing the assist.
Both teams had half chances to score further in the first half but the home team led at the interval.
It was an end-to-end game at the start of the second period with Churchill committing men forward and that opened up spaces for Vissai Ninh Binh to exploit on the counter attacks.
Balwant looked to be Churchill’s biggest goal-threat and the FPAI Indian Player of the Year nearly restored parity with his shot narrowly missing the target.
At the other end, left winger Hoang Danh Ngọc went close for the hosts as he nearly finished off a fine team move but his effort went wide.
Churchill Brothers’ acting coach Alfred Fernandes brought on young Warren Rebello in place of Balan but Vissai Ninh Binh went 3-1 up after a lovely finish from Van Quyen. The home fans were desperate for the 30-year-old to score and the former Vietnam international delivered.
That goal came slightly against the run of play as Churchill Brothers were enjoying a good spell of pressure. Despite the two-goal deficit, the Red Machines kept attacking and were thrown a lifeline as they won a penalty. Shabana successfully converted from the spot to bring the I-League outfit back in the game.
But Churchill Brothers couldn’t complete the comeback as Van Quyen restored Vissai’s Ninh Binh’s two-goal advantage by scoring with a sumptuous freekick.
The Vietnam club might have pulled out from the V-League and their future is uncertain but they have made it to quarters of Asia’s Europa League. Churchill Brothers would be hoping that their Federation Cup triumph earlier this year will earn them a berth in next year’s AFC Cup.