Hanoi captain Nguyen Van Quyet’s goal in the 21st minute cancelled Rim Chol-min’s early opener for 4.25. Papa Kebe’s effort at the half hour mark seemed to seal the match for the hosts, but Kim Yu-song’s long range effort in the 87th minute helped the visitors leave Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium as the happier of the two sides.
4.25 SC’s two away goals definitely will be a huge advantage when they welcome Hanoi in Pyongyang in the second leg on October 2 as the DPR Korea’s side have not yet tasted defeat at home in this year’s tournament.
Hanoi were the dominant side for almost all of the match but their wastefulness in front of keeper An Tae-Song’s goal cost them the 2-2 draw and put the reigning V.League champions in pressure in the second leg if they want to make history for Vietnamese football.
Hanoi’s starting XI against 4.25 SC during the first leg of their AFC Cup 2019 Inter-Zone Play-Off Final at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on September 25. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
4.25 SC’s starting XI against hosts Hanoi FC during the first leg of their AFC Cup 2019 Inter-Zone Play-Off Final at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on September 25. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
Hanoi FC, who were crowned the 2019 V.League champions last week with two matches to spare, are on track for a treble. After winning the V.League, coach Chu Dinh Nghiem’s side target to conquer the National Cup trophy and most importantly become the first Vietnamese side to win the Inter-Zone championship title.
With great determination, the hosts started well as they soon controlled the match and dominated the East Asian side with multiple attacks. However, it was 4.25 SC who took the sudden lead in the 19th minute as captain Rim pounced on Hanoi’s slack defending to fire home at the far post to put the visitors ahead.
4.25’s lead did not last for long as Hanoi quickly responded and Van Quyet levelled 1-1 for his side from Kebe’s cross just two minutes later.
Hanoi’s captain Van Quyet (L) and 4.25 SC’s captain Rim Chol-min before the start of the first leg of their AFC Cup 2019 Inter-Zone Play-Off Final at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on September 25. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
Back into the game, the hosts proved too much for their rivals and they soon took the lead in the 28th minute. This time Kebe comfortably slotted the ball past goalkeeper An Tae-song after a neat passing team move and Pape Omar’s decisive pass.
Hanoi then were forced to make a change as first choice keeper Nguyen Van Cong suffered an injury and was stretchered off to be replaced by substitute Bui Tien Dung in the 34th minute.
Nevertheless, Hanoi continued to overwhelm their rivals as both Omar and star midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai forced An Tae-song make smart saves before the first 45 minutes ended in favour of Hanoi.
Hanoi players celebrate after scoring a goal during the first leg of the AFC Cup 2019 Inter-Zone Play-Off Final against 4.25 SC at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on September 25. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
Hanoi continued their superiority in the second half. Omar had a golden opportunity to widen the gap for his side within two minutes of the restart but wastefully fired the ball over the bar from close-range. The hosts bombarded 4.25’s goal but failed to add more goal as the visitors were rarely threatened.
4.25 mainly relied on long range efforts and Rim was expertly denied by Tien Dung shortly after the hour mark, while Kim saw his attempt from distance comfortably gathered by the goalkeeper moments later. But the Hanoi’s substitute was hopeless when Kim’s long-range effort found the net in the 87th minute, handing the visitors a distinct advantage with the 2-2 draw.
The two teams will meet again in Pyongyang next Wednesday for the return leg, and 4.25 are now the big favourites to reach the final. The winners of the two-legged Inter-Zone Play-Off Final will reach the AFC Cup final where they will face the winners of the West Asia Zonal Final between Lebanon’s Al Ahed and Jordan’s Al Jazeera. The two sides tied 0-0 in the first leg a day earlier.
Hanoi players and fans do the Viking Clap after the first leg of the AFC Cup 2019 Inter-Zone Play-Off Final against 4.25 SC at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on September 25. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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