In a script reminiscent to last year's dramatic turnaround, Cambodian league champions Boeung Ket made it to the Group stage of the AFC Cup after a 1-0 victory in their second leg tie against Lao Toyota in Vientiane on Friday saw them progress 4-3 on aggregate.
The first leg last week ended in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Olympic Stadium, with Lao Toyota bouncing back from a two-goal deficit to force a draw in the last 10 minutes of the game.
Hoping to exploit their away goals, the Laotians kept the score level until seasoned striker Khoun Laboravy netted the only goal of the match just past the hour-mark to give stand-in coach Keo Kosal's side a berth in the four-team Group F campaign beginning next week.
Boeung Ket now join Ceres Negros of the Philippines, Home United of Singapore and Shan United of Myanmar in the four-team group. The side will travel to Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod to take on Negros on February 13, while Shan United host Home United in Yangon on the same day.
The theatrical finish to the qualifying playoff between the two sides was similar in intensity and twists to last season's encounters. Nine-men Boeung Ket hung on to force a 1-1 draw at home and then eked out a 1-0 win away to come out 2-1 ahead on aggregate to progress.