Tainted Vietnamese side exit AFC Cup despite win


Posted at Aug 27 2014 08:36 PM | Updated as of Aug 28 2014 04:36 AM

HONG KONG - Hong Kong side Kitchee did what a match-fixing scandal could not do and ended the AFC Cup run of Vietnamese side Vissai Ninh Binh at the quarter-final stage on Tuesday.

Kitchee became the first team from Hong Kong to make it through to the last four of the second tier Asian club competition after prevailing 4-3 on aggregate but were given a scare at home by Ninh Binh, who won the second leg 1-0.

Nigerian striker Suleiman Oladoja scored the only goal after 28 minutes when he was on hand to divert the ball home after his team mate's shot hit the post.

Ninh Binh had chances to grab a second but Kitchee improved after the break and ran out winners to end the eventful run of the Vietnam side who overcame a match-fixing scandal to reach the last eight for the first time.

On Monday, a Vietnam court found nine former Ninh Binh players guilty of match-fixing after they colluded with a bookmaker to throw a group game in Malaysia in return for a $40,000 bribe.

Former international Tran Manh was jailed for 30 months and eight other players were given suspended sentences.

They had all long left the club, who promoted youngsters and brought in new players and continued their remarkable run in the competition after tournament organisers, the Asian Football Confederation, surprisingly allowed them to continue despite the scale of the issue.

Ninh Binh will start next season in the third tier of Vietnam's soccer league after the chairman pulled them out of the top division following the scandal which broke in April. (Reporting by Patrick Johnston in Singapore, editing by Ed Osmond)