Pape Omar Faye of Hà Nội FC (centre) tries to evade two tackles during a match against Becamex Bình Dương in the V.League in May. The two sides will play the first leg of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final today at Gò Đậu Stadium. Photo vtv.vn
HÀ NỘI — Becamex Bình Dương and Hà Nội go head-to-head today in the first leg of the all-Vietnamese AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final at the Gò Đậu Stadium.
It is the first time in history two teams from Việt Nam have faced each other at this level of the tournament.
Although this is only the first leg, with the second match played in a week’s time, a victory for either side would ensure one foot in the next round.
Speaking at the press briefing yesterday Bình Dương head coach Nguyễn Thanh Sơn said: “We will do everything to make it a top match of ASEAN region and even of Asia.”
“Hà Nội are tough and a united team but Bình Dương are disciplined which is key for our success,” he said.
Bình Dương will be without key striker Nguyễn Anh Đức who has a knee injury.
But the coaching board believed that young forward Nguyễn Tiến Linh could step into his shoes.
The U22 national team player recently scored a double against Hải Phòng in the V.League. He also netted in the AFC Cup.
“We have completed our preparations for the final,” Linh said.
“We are in high spirits after beating Hải Phòng (last week). We will do best to earn a little advantage ahead of the return leg match. As hosts we are really confident to play Hà Nội who are home of national team players.”
His teammate defender Hồ Tấn Tài also believed they could ruin Hà Nội’s night.
“Hà Nội are a strong attacking team with 26 goals now. It is really difficult to play against them,” he said.
“But I think if we could prevent their frontline from scoring our team could achieve goals.”
“We have to prepare to lock down players like Nguyễn Quang Hải, Nguyễn Văn Quyết and Pape Omar Faye. Our defence must be focussed 100 per cent all the time.”
For the visiting side, both coach Chu Đình Nghiêm and midfielder Đỗ Hùng Dũng praised Bình Dương’s front line.
“They have not had good results in V.League this season but they have been impressive in the AFC Cup, especially the forwards. Any team who lose their concentration for even a second will have to pay,” Nghiêm said.
"To me, the final result is important but we also must play well as a team. We have prepared well for the match,” he said.
Sharing the point with his coach, midfielder Hùng added: “Striker Tiến Linh is the one to watch in this match. The goal hunter is back and he would create many challenges for Hà Nội who will play under the added heavy pressure from about 20,000 home supporters.”
Hà Nội travel to Bình Dương without their striker Ganiyu Bolaji Oseni who just had a successful knee surgery yesterday.
Bình Dương and Hà Nội have known each other very well.
They are two most successful clubs in Việt Nam with four national premier league titles each.
They have met twice this year. Hà Nội won 2-0 in the Super National Cup in February before they tied 2-2 in the first period of the V.League 1 in May.
The return leg match will be on August 7 in Hà Nội.
The winner of the two-legged tie will be kings of ASEAN and meet Turkmenisan's Altyn Asyr in the Inter-Zone semi-finals on August 20. — VNS