|Đoàn Văn Hậu of Hà Nội FC in action during the AFC Champions League playoff match. — Photo the-AFC.com|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI -- Shandong Luneng came from behind to end Hà Nội FC’s dream of reaching the AFC Champions League Group Stage for the first time after a 4-1 win in the play-off stage at the Jinan Olympic Sports Centre yesterday.
Shandong Luneng progress having made the quarter-finals twice in previous years.
Chances were wasted by both sides in the first half, with Zhang Chi and Roger Guedes failing to hit the target and Hà Nội FC forward Pape Omar and midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải testing goalkeeper Wang Dalei.
With five minutes of the half remaining the visitors took the lead.
Ganiyu Oseni brought the ball down the left flank and found captain Nguyễn Văn Quyết near the box and his bouncing volley zipped into the far corner.
The hosts came out after the restart intent to get on level terms, and Liu Junshuai scored the equaliser from close range in the 65th minute.
Pelle then made the score 2-1 minutes later.
Another substitute, Liu Binbin, finished well from inside the area in the 87th minute, before Zhou Haibin tapped home in added time.
"We played well in the first half and scored the opener. We had one or two chances to score in the second half but could not take them. The players were worn out at the end of the match and couldn’t fight back," said coach Chu Đình Nghiêm.
He added he was pleased with his players’ performance in the first half.
Shandong will now compete in Group E alongside Gyeongnam FC of South Korea, Malaysia’s Johor Darul Ta’zim and the winners of Kashima Antlers versus Newcastle Jets.
Hà Nội will now take part in the 2019 AFC Cup where they play in Group F with Tampines Rovers from Singapore, Yangon United of Myanmar, and Cambodia’s Naga World. -- VNS