Preview: Lao Toyota v Ayeyawady United

Lao Toyota FC from Laos face Myanmar’s Ayeyawady United in a Group H clash of the AFC Cup that is of little consequence to the group outcome.

Both sides are out of the running to qualify for the last 16 as they both are on three points at the bottom of the group, well behind top-placed Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim on 15 points and Bengaluru FC of India, who sit in second with nine points.

Lao started off their group stage campaign in February on a positive note by defeating Bengaluru 2-1 but after that it was all downhill as they lost 4-2 at Ayeyawady then 3-0 at Johor and in the return leg in Laos they were hammered 4-1. Last time out on April 27, they were beaten 2-1 at Bengaluru.

The three players to watch out for in the Laos side are – midfielder Phatthana Syvilay, forward Kazuo Homma and striker Sitthideth Khantavong who have each scored two goals so far.

Speaking to reporters, Lao coach Valakone Phomphakdy said he would field a few new faces against Ayeyawady.

“I will play some new faces to give them the experience of playing at a higher level,” said Phomphakdy.

“Nothing much will changes in our line-up from the last game apart from our suspended defender Saynakkhonevieng Phommapanya.”

In domestic action in the Lao Premier League, Lao Toyota are second on the table with 15 points behind leaders Lanexang United on goal difference. In their last league match on Sunday, they defeated VSV United 3-0.

Ayeyawady started off their campaign losing 8-1 at Johor before defeating Lao Toyota 4-2. From there, they lost all their remaining games, losing 1-0 to Bengaluru and then 5-3 in the return leg. They lost 2-1 to Johor last time out on April 27.

The star player for Ayeyawady is Nigerian striker Christopher Chizoba, who has scored five times in the AFC Cup so far.

In the Myanmar National League, Ayeyawady are third on the table with 20 points and in their last outing on April 2, they defeated Zwekapin United 1-0.

Ayeyawady coach U Kyaw Linh said they were looking for a win or a draw to ensure they finished third in the group.

“We hope to win the game, while a draw would be the least we want,” said Linh.

“But Laotian football is improving and it’s not as easy a game as in the past; our opponents have good balance in every position.”