V.League 1 champions Ha Noi T&T moved top of AFC Cup Group F on Tuesday after claiming a shock 3-1 win over Indonesia’s Arema Cronus.
Entering the game undefeated in all competition so far in 2014, many were expecting Arema to claim all three points against the Vietnamese outfit, especially with home advantage at the Kanjuruhan Stadium.
But it was Ha Noi who took the lead after 20 minutes when Gonzalo Marronkle found the back of the net, although the hosts equalised seven minutes later courtesy of a Cristian Gonzales penalty.
Still, the visitors were not deterred and reclaimed the lead in the 33rd minute when Marronkle grabbed his second of the game, before Nguyen Van Quyet struck a minute from time to seal the victory.
The result sent Ha Noi top of Group F with maximum points from their opening two games, four ahead of second-placed Selangor who were held to a 1-1 draw at Maziya.
The Malaysia Super League giants were on course for victory after Steve Pantelidis fired them ahead in the 42nd minute, but disaster then struck two minutes after the break when goalkeeper Hamsani Ahmad committed a last-man foul inside the box and was issued his marching orders.
Mohamed Ahmed stepped up and converted the resultant penalty to equalise for the Maldivian outfit, which ultimately proved enough to earn them a share of the spoils.
Over in Group E, Singapore Cup winners Home United’s wasteful ways cost them as they played out a 1-1 draw against Indonesian Super League champions Persipura Jayapura at the Jalan Besar Stadium.
Yasir Hanapi broke the deadlock for the Protectors in the 26th minute with a terrific looping volley, but Qiu Li and Izzdin Shafiq both wasted excellent one-on-one chances to add to their tally shortly after the hour mark.
And in the end, Persipura made them pay for their profligacy as Ferinando Pahabol pounced on a loose ball and scored with a deflected drive in the 74th minute to earn the visitors a valuable point.
Still unbeaten, the Black Pearls remain top of the group and a point ahead of India’s Churchill Brothers, who recorded an impressive 3-0 win over New Radiant at the Fatorda Stadium.
The hosts took the lead on the half-hour mark thanks to a Cristian Lagos effort, before Trinidad and Tobago midfielder Anthony Wolfe doubled their advantage eight minutes into the second half.
15 minutes from time, Costa Rica international Lagos netted again to wrap up the three points for Churchill.
Tuesday’s AFC Cup Results
That Ras 1-0 Al Suwaiq
Fanja 2-1 Kuwait SC
Nejmeh 0-0 Al Jaish
Home United 1-1 Persipura Jayapura
Churchill Brothers 3-0 New Radiant
Arema Cronus 1-3 Ha Noi T&T
Maziya 1-1 Selangor