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AFC Champions League

Kitchee left to fly the flag for Hong Kong in AFC Champions League after Eastern lose to Thanh Hoa

Former Hong Kong Premier League champions will hope to salvage their season with Senior Shield victory over Yuen Long on Saturday

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2018, 10:11pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 January, 2018, 10:11pm

Hong Kong will only have one side in the AFC Champions League this year after Eastern Long Lions saw their dreams of a second successive tournament end in defeat to Vietnamese runners-up Thanh Hoa.

The Hong Kong Premier League side lost their qualifying round match 4-2 at Mong Kok Stadium.

The hosts had taken the lead in the 25th minute thanks to Michel Lugo but the lead lasted just six minutes before Thanh Hoa were awarded a penalty for handball by Eastern’s Japanese defender Igawa Yusuke.

Pape Omar Faye sent Eastern captain and goalkeeper Yapp Hung-fai to equalise.

Two goals in two second half minutes from Vietnamese international striker Hoang Dinh Tung put the visitors in front before a quick-fire response for Eastern in the form of a Manuel Bleda Rodriguez penalty.

Despite five minutes added time the home side could not find the goal to take the game to extra time, with their hopes dashed at the last when Thanh Hoa’s Hoang helped himself to the matchball by finishing off his hat-trick.

New Eastern coach Lee Kin-wo will hope that his side can overcome their disappointment at the weekend when they take on Yuen Long for the Senior Challenge Shield at Hong Kong Stadium.

This was Lee’s first game in charge after taking over from Szeto Man-chun, who walked away following the side’s 8-1 loss to Kitchee.

Eastern boss Szeto Man-Chun walks after Kitchee thrashing as Lee Kin-wo steps up for crucial AFC Champions League tie

Thanh Hoa’s reward for their win is a tie against South Korean side Suwon Bluewings for a place in the group stage.

In the night’s biggest shock, Australian A-League side Brisbane Roar were beaten by Philippine league leaders Ceres Negros 3-2 in Brisbane.