Hà Nội FC starts Champions League journey with disappointing loss

September 21, 2023 - 06:17
It was competition experience that Hà Nội FC was lacking, as Bozidar Bandovic's side, in the coach's own words, "mentally collapsed" after the first goal.


Đỗ Hùng Dũng (88, white) and teammates struggled in Hà Nội FC's first AFC Champions League campaign. VNA/VNS Photo Minh Quyết

Anh Đức

HÀ NỘI In their first foray in the AFC Champions League, Hà Nội FC lost 2-4 to K-League giants Pohang Steelers on Wednesday.

The capital team, who normally play their games in Hằng Đẫy Stadium, opted to play in Mỹ Đình National Stadium for a better fan experience.

However, it was continental competition experience Hà Nội FC lacked, as Bozidar Bandovic's side, in the coach's own words, "mentally collapsed" after the first goal.

A clumsy own goal from former Borussia Dortmund defender Damien Le Tallec, one of Bandovic's six foreign players, gave the lead and initiative to the visitors in the 31st minute. Brazilian forward Zeca seemed to have fouled Le Tallec in replays, but VAR upheld the referee's decision to confirm the goal.

Just three minutes later, Pohang doubled their lead on a decisive counter. Yoon Min-ho broke the offside trap to fire a shot that was too difficult for Bùi Tấn Trường to save.

Pohang scored the third goal in the 39th minute, with Zeca playing a crucial role again, after dribbling past three Hà Nội players before putting Kim In-sung through on goal with a great pass, where the Korean finished with finesse into the back of the net.

At this time, many fans have thought of a crushing defeat for the home team, with Kim In-sung completing his brace ten minutes after the break to give Pohang a four-goal lead.

The record six-time V-League champion did not gave up, and found a way to strike back, courtesy of two goals from Joel Tagueu. But it was too little, too late and Pohang grabbed their three points.

Hà Nội will face the defending champions Urawa Red Diamonds on October 4, with much more work needed to be done. VNS