Well, well, well. What a fantastic pair of games we witnessed last night! We’ll take a look at the reports the same way we did the previews. That means, we are going to begin with Thanh Hoa’s clash with Song Lam Nghe An (SLNA) before progressing onto Ha Noi versus Becamex Binh Duong a little later. If you were expecting goals across these semi-finals, you would not have been disappointed. I’ll stop teasing you now, let’s see what happened!

A Beautiful Strike From Lynch Drew SLNA Level

To my surprise, Thanh Hoa drew first blood as their dangerman, Pape Faye, rose between two hapless SLNA defenders to head home a tantalising right-wing cross. The defence has to be doing better than that, for me. Their lead didn’t last long, though. Jeremie Lynch equalised with the goal of the game. A long ball over the top was brought down with ease by the Jamaican. He cut back inside, a little step-over, whack. Bottom right-hand corner. The keeper? Not a chance. 1-1. Game on.

SLNA only needed another four minutes to flip the game on its head. The in-form Michael Olaha breached Thanh Hoa’s shoddy attempt of an offside trap and remained as cool as a cucumber to finish. One gripe with his goal, though. The keeper came off his line far too quickly which made Olaha’s mind up for him. When you consider the fact that the defenders were closing in on him, I think we can safely say that he made the wrong decision.

Rimario Brought Thanh Hoa Back Into The Game

Picture Harry Kane’s goal for England in the World Cup against Panama. You know the one. Where it hit him and went in? That’s precisely what happened here. A long-range effort from a free-kick wasn’t really up to much, however, when it hit Rimario, it put SLNA’s keeper off and it was in. 2-2. Halftime. What a belting game.

If you’re expecting a similar number of goals in the second half, I’ve got a bit of bad news for you. It slows down quite substantially. The only logical explanation to the vast reduction of goals in comparison to the first period is that both managers must have told their sides to wind it in. Cheers, lads. Fortunately, humble reader, that wasn’t the end of the road.

Lynch Showed His Versatility With The Winner

Lynch’s first goal was all about his ability with the ball. His second was all about his awareness, not only of his teammates but also the opposition. If you cast your mind back to the opening goal of the game, Thanh Hoa’s first goal came from a right-sided cross. Lynch’s goal was constructed down the same side. Whereas Faye’s goal was to do with his aerial prowess, Lynch’s was to do with his mind. He ghosted between two defenders and put it away first time. 2-3, full time.

One More Thing

From here, it’s difficult to see Thanh Hoa finding a way back into the tie. Saying that, a lot can change in a month off, so maybe we’ll see Thanh Hoa come out all guns blazing. 3-2 and penalties, anyone? I do fancy it. SLNA got what they came for and then some. Away goals and an advantage. You can’t argue with that, can you?

Until the next time.