Coach Totchtawan Sripan used a strong line-up with many Thai national players in the match, held in Hanoi on December 23rd. In the sixth minute, the visitors opened the score thanks to Adisak Kraisorn.

Despite facing an early loss, the hosts still played calmly. They played defense attack.

In the 42nd minute, after receiving a spectacular pass from his teammate, striker Youssouf Toure leveled the score of 1-1 for the hosts.

Toure’s goal was a driving force for Khanh Hoa in the second half. They nearly dominated the game. They showed their determination to win this match before meeting the Thai team again in the second leg. However, Khanh Hoa’s attack line didn’t break the defence line of their rivals. The Vietnamese representatives saw two more losses in the last minutes.

Sarach Yooyen and Kraisorn helped the Thai team fix the match of 3-1.

“The ability of Khanh Hoa to score goals was limited. The whole team relied on French striker Toure but in this match, he was shadowed. The United knew our way of playing. They had better international experience than us and played better than us,” said coach Vo Dinh Tan of Khanh Hoa, after the match.

The 50-year-old Tan also admitted that his team didn’t play with the best physical strength in this match. Because of this, the team didn’t follow the tactics of the training board well.

“We didn’t face any pressure during this game. However, our physical strength wasn’t up to the mark,” said Tan.

Before reaching the finals, Khanh Hoa, who finished sixth in the V.League 1 this year, showed a series of impressive displays in their tournament debut thus far, beating Cambodia’s Boeungket Angkor 9-5 aggregate in the first round and then Lao Premier League champions, Lao Toyota FC, 2-0 in the semi-finals.

Khanh Hoa will meet the runners-up of the Thai Premier again at the Supachalasai Stadium in Thailand on January 6 for the return encounter meet.

The winner will walk away with USD75,000, while the runners-up will receive USD50,000./.