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Laos trips up on bid for soccer glory

Corruption and financial problems hit Laotian domestic league

Lanexang fans at the first leg of the Mekong Club Championship final with Buriram United in Vientiane on Jan. 4. (Photo courtesy of Lanexang United)

VIENTIANE -- There were reasons for Laos soccer fans to be cheerful at the start of 2017 and most of those were because of Lanexang United. The country's leading club reached the final of the inaugural Mekong Championship, beating teams from Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia along the way, to narrowly lose to Thailand's Buriram United, one of Southeast Asia's biggest clubs.

The results signalled that Lanexang, based in the capital city of Vientiane, was becoming a force in the regional scene -- thanks largely to an investment of over $10 million, on and off the field, over the past two years.

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