HÀ NỘI Hà Nội FC drew 1-1 with Ceres Negros of the Philippines in the first leg of the AFC Cup’s ASEAN zonal semi-finals yesterday.
The game was held at Panaad Stadium in the Philippines.
The two teams previously met in this tournament in 2017, with Hà Nội drawing 1-1 at home and losing 6-2 away.
Hà Nội lined up with a number of national team players and top strikers, but it was goalkeeper Nguyễn Văn Công who stood out in the first half making three vital saves.
The capital team’s defence looked weak down the wings but the hosts were unable to take advantage.
After the break, Ceres Negros played on the counter-attack and their efforts paid off with a goal in the 57th minute.
Receiving a pass from Stephan Shrock on the right wing, Bienve Maranon found space at the back post and headed home to beat goalie Công.
This set-back seemed to wake Hà Nội up, and they were quickly back on level terms when Phạm Thành Lương, who had only just been introduced as a substitute, showed great poise to play in Pape Omar Faye who slotted home.
V.League champions Hà Nội entered the semi-finals as Group F winners and the highest-scoring team in the competition with 23 goals. While current champions of the local league, Ceres Negros topped Group G.
Hà Nội will take on Ceres Negros again in the second leg at Hàng Đẫy Stadium in Hà Nội on June 25 with the winners set to advance to the ASEAN Zonal final.
A win or a 0-0 draw will help Hà Nội make history by reaching the ASEAN Zonal final for the first time.
Today, Becamex Bình Dương will face PSM Makassar of Indonesia in the first leg of their semi-final at Gò Đậu Stadium in the southern province of Bình Dương. VNS