Calijuri the hero in eight-goal Mekong thriller

Boeung Ket’s Maycon Calijuri (left) scored a hat-trick against Sanna Khanh Hoa FC in the Toyota Mekong Club Championship on Saturday. sreng meng srun
Boeung Ket’s Maycon Calijuri (left) scored a hat-trick against Sanna Khanh Hoa FC in the Toyota Mekong Club Championship on Saturday. Sreng Meng Srun

In a dramatic eight-goal thriller, Vietnam’s Sanna Khanh Hoa FC and Boeung Ket finished all square at 4-4 to get the Toyota Mekong Club Championship rolling at Hanoi’s Hang Day stadium on Saturday.

The first-leg clash between V.League 1 reps Sanna and newly installed Metfone C-League winners Boeung Ket saw the home side lead no less than four times, but the visitors refused to budge and pushed back every time with the eighth goal of a memorable night coming two minutes from the end.

The two sides have everything to play for when they meet in the second leg at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday. The winners will face Lao Toyota in the semifinals.

If Youssouf Torre was the star of the show for Sanna with his hat-trick, Brazilian Maycon Calijuri was the saviour of the night with his invaluable treble, each goal restoring parity, the final one right at the death.

But it was the brilliance of Samuel Ajayi that set up each scoring chance, including substitute Julius Oiboh’s crucial strike for Boeung Ket.

Sanna got off to a flyer when Lee Duy Thanh scored early and the home side kept that advantage for a long time before Boeung Ket drew level. Ajayi was tripped in his approach to goal and Maycon turned in the spot-kick.

But Torre made it 2-1 before the break. Not to be outdone, Maycon tied the scores again only to see Torre nail another trademark finish.

Having come on just past the hour, Oiboh rose to the occasion off Ajayi’s assist to make it 3-3.

Then came a goal of quality from Torre that appeared to move the game away from Boeung Ket, but it only paved the way for Maycon’s final flourish.