Yadanarbon 1 Warriors 1 (aet, 5-6 pens): Andy the hero as hosts blink first

New Warriors signing Andy Ahmad enjoyed the perfect debut on Wednesday, opening the scoring for his team and then slotting the decisive penalty to seal a dramatic win.

The score was locked at 1-1 after extra time, but the Singaporean side prevailed 6-5 on spot kicks to make it to the next stage of AFC Champions League qualifying.

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Mandalay's Mandalar Thiri Stadium played host to this knockout match, although the 21,400 fans had to wait till extra time before either side's net was breached.

The game had been a fairly dour affair up to this point, with both teams battling for possession in midfield.

Former Brisbane Roar midfielder James Meyer had the best opportunity for the home side in the second half, but was thwarted by an impressive Neezam Aziz in the Warriors goal as the teams entered extra time goalless.

That all changed nine minutes into the added period when substitute Andy, who had been signed from Woodlands Wellington in the offseason, scored a delightful opener after good work from fellow signing Fazli Jaffar.

However, their joy was shortlived as Yadanarbon equalised just three minutes later through defender Ye Win Aung, sending the match into the dreaded penalty shootout lottery.

Warriors held their nerve though, as skipper Daniel Bennett, Nicolas Velez, Shi Jiayi, Thomas Beattie and Marin Vidosevic made it a perfect five out of five spot kicks.

Although Yadanarbon matched their feat up to this point, Andy's sixth penalty would be decisive as Neezam guessed correctly to deny Si Thu Aung and send Warriors through.

The Singaporean side will face Guangzhou R&F in China next Tuesday, after the Chinese Super League side finished third in the league last season to qualify for their maiden Champions League campaign.

The pressure is on Guangzhou R&F

Speaking to FourFourTwo after the game, Warriors head coach Alex Weaver was delighted with the result against a team that was already four games into Myanmar's league season.

"The players took one penalty each the practice before the day of the game but as it was more a part of our cooldown than preparation for a shootout," he said.

"They all did very well [but I] was impressed with how Andy has adapted to his new environment – not surprising given what I have seen in practice sessions."

Weaver admitted that Guangzhou represented a tough opponent next week, but was confident that the performance against Yadanarbon had give the team a real confidence boost.

"R&F will be a difficult game but we can go there with absolutely no pressure on us and hopefully cause an upset," he said.

"R&F will be nervous about losing to a lower ranked team for sure."

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