New signings to the fore again in HCMC’s AFC Cup win

By Thang Nguyen   February 25, 2020 | 08:02 pm PT
New signings to the fore again in HCMC’s AFC Cup win
Amido Baldé celebrates after scoring his double for HCMC on February 25. Photo courtesy of Asian Football Confederation.
HCMC’s new signings were in the forefront of their club’s 3-2 victory against Singapore’s Hougang United on Tuesday.

Two weeks after opening his account for HCMC, Nguyen Cong Phuong fired again in an AFC Cup game with a close range finish in the 15th minute. His scoring instincts seemed to be back after a long time of being benched in South Korea and Belgium.

Hougang played with a slow tempo and low defensive line in the first 10 minutes of the game, but HCMC’s early goal in just five minutes of play ruined that plan. They could not manage a single shot on goal in the first half and kept relying on long balls to attack.

HCMC scored its second goal in additional time for the first half, with another new signing, Amido Baldé, using his impressive height (1.93m) to good effect, heading the ball in. HCMC dominted the game after the two goals, with the mobility and dribbling skills shown by Cong Phuong and Tran Phi Son constantly troubling trouble for Hougang’s defense.

Nguyen Cong Phuong (in white) tries to dribble past a defender. Photo courtesy of Asian Football Confederation.

Nguyen Cong Phuong (in white) tries to dribble past a Hougang United defender. Photo courtesy of Asian Football Confederation.

HCMC got its third goal in the 60th minute as Cong Phuong broke through the defense and took a shot that hit the bar. The ball found Phi Son, who crossed it inside the box for Baldé and the Guinea-Bissauan forward didn’t miss his chance to score a brace.

Despite not scoring, Phi Son had an excellent game with a hattrick of assists, all of them from the right flank, which was also HCMC’s main attacking area this game.

At their first AFC Cup game on February 11, HCMC FC drew 2-2 against Yangon United with two goals scored by Cong Phuong and Amido Baldé.

Leading 3-0 with 30 minutes ago, HCMC started to loosen up on the offense and played slower. But their mistakes in defense almost cost them the game.

In the 75th minute, goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung didn’t catch the ball cleanly and when a Hougang player was there for a tap-in, he was forced to commit a foul. The referee quickly pointed to the penalty spot and Hougang got one back.

HCMC conceded the second just two minutes later. With only two long passes, the ball reached Stipe Plazibat in the box and he finished accurately. But Hougang couldn’t find the equalizer in the remaining time and their opponents gained the full three points for a win.

This game will help HCMC gain more confidence before the big clash with Hanoi FC in the National Super Cup game this weekend.

HCMC FC 3-2 Hougang United

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