HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's V-League champions Ha Noi T&T have been drawn against Arbil after a draw yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Another Vietnamese representative Ninh Binh will take on Kitchee, Hong Kong First Division's six-time winners, who have advanced to their second Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup quarter-finals.
The draw conducted by AFC Deputy General Secretary Dato' Windsor John saw two other matches in the knockout stage.
Kuwait club, two-time AFC Cup runners-up Qadsia FC, will play Bahraini debutants Al Hidd. Defending champions Kuwait SC, the only team to have won three AFC Cup titles, will have a face off with Indonesian Super League champions Persipura Jayapura.
Coach Phan Thanh Hung of Ha Noi T&T was not satisfied with the result as his team's rival are really strong with three players—Boja Rubiato, Hawar Mulla and Luay Sahla—scoring 13 goals here.
Arbil, the 2012 runners-up in the quarter-final round of the AFC Cup, earlier won the domestic league five times and came second twice.
They have played in the AFC Cup knock-out round four times, while it is the second time that Ha Noi T&T are playing at the continental competition.
"We are determined to win the AFC Cup. We have planned a strategy to face the Western Asian opponent in the quarters, but Arbil are really powerful. We cannot say anything ahead of the match. But our chances of moving further will be more open if we play an Eastern team such as Ninh Binh," Hung stated after the draw.
"Now, we will have to collect data and information on Arbil to analyse and determine their weaknesses."
It is the first match between the two sides in history.
The only unbeaten team in the tournament, Ninh Binh, on the other hand, were positive about their chances although they are the Cup's debutants.
"I think we are lucky to play Kitchee who are at the same level with us. We share 50–50 chances of winning," claimed coach Nguyen Van Sy of Ninh Binh.
Like Hung, Sy also felt that an Eastern team was always easier to win than the Western Asian team.
"We can take a breeze against them although playing on a home turf in the first leg match could bring us some disadvantages. We must win or first score a goal in this match. Anyway, the door is open for us," he added.
Sy stated that his team will meet early August to prepare for the tournament. Some on-loan players such as Dinh Van Ta and Hoang Vissai will be called back. Detailed plans will be discussed carefully as Ninh Binh are facing a personal shortage after players were banned because of the recent match-fixing scandal.
Ninh Binh will also play the first leg match on the home ground of Ninh Binh Stadium.
The first and second legs of the quarter-finals will be held on August 19 and 26, respectively.
The first and second legs of the semi-finals will take place on September 16 and 30, respectively. The final match will be held on October 18. — VNS