Singapore Premier League side Tampines Rovers mounted an impressive comeback to begin their AFC Cup 2019 campaign with a 3-1 win over Myanmar’s Yangon United on Tuesday.
Yangon United had went ahead at the Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon early on in the first half through Sekou Sylla, but a 13-minute onslaught at the start of the second half saw the Singapore club record a 3-1 comeback win over the Myanmarese domestic champions.
FT: Yangon United 1-3 Tampines Rovers
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It was Khairul Amri who triggered the comeback with a goal in the 55th minute before Zehrudin Mehmedovic gave the visitors the lead six minutes later. Ryutaro Megumi gave Tampines a two-goal cushion in the 68th minute!
The Group F opener saw Tampines, Singapore’s fourth-placed club last season, taking on Myanmar National League champions Yangon who had dropped down to the AFC Cup after losing to Thai League side Chiangrai United in the second preliminary round of the AFC Champions League 2019 qualifiers earlier this month.
And it was the hosts who took the lead in front of their fans in the 13th minute. It was Guinean forward Sylla who found the opener from a very tight angle. The 27-year-old got the ball from a throw in and turned his defender to get inside the box and let fly to make it 1-0.
AFC Cup 2019: Yangon United 1-0 Tampines Rovers (13′ Sekou Sylla)
Despite going down, the Stags were persistent to find an equaliser in the first half, but they failed to find a way back at least until the half time break. Irwan Shah went closest in the 43rd minute while many other chances were wasted by the Singapore club.
However, the second half saw them really kicking into another gear with Amiri finding the equaliser within 10 minutes of restart. Shahdan Sulaiman played in a cross from the right and the very experienced Singapore international only had to turn the ball in to restore parity in the game.
AFC Cup 2019: Yangon United 1-1 Tampines Rovers (55′ Khairul Amri)
However, Tampines did not rest on the opening goal and they kept on probing against the hosts. It was Serbian midfielder Mehmedovic who saved his teammate Megumi from a major embarrassment as the Japanese forward failed to find the back of the net with an open goal gaping in front of him.
But luckily for Megumi, Mehemdovic was there to turn in the rebound before any of the Yangon defenders managed to clear the danger. The way the goal came might have been scrappy, but it was fair to say it was a deserved lead for the Stags.
AFC Cup 2019: Yangon United 1-2 Tampines Rovers (61′ Mehmedovic)
The result was put beyond doubt not much later when Megumi made amends by scoring the third in the 68th minute. The ball fell kindly for the Japanese star and he made no mistake this time around to make it 3-1 for the Tampines who could not have hoped for a better start to their AFC Cup 2019 campaign.
AFC Cup 2019: Yangon United 1-3 Tampines Rovers (68′ Megumi)
Tampines will now host Hanoi FC at their home on March 12 in the competition while Yangon travel to the Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium to face Cambodian side Nagaworld FC.
(Photo credit: Tampines Rovers FC)