SOLE STRIKE: Hà Nội's Nguyễn Văn Quyết (left) vies for a ball against Ali Rabo of Becamex Bình Dương during the match. Hà Nội won 1-0. — Photo the-afc.com
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Văn Quyết scored the only goal to help Hà Nội FC beat Becamex Bình Dương 1-0 in the first leg of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal final on Wednesday.
The captain’s penalty in the 33rd minute was denied by goalkeeper Trần Đức Cường but the midfielder followed up to slot the only goal at the Bình Dương Stadium.
The match was marred by heavy rain proving it difficult to create more chances for either side in the first ever all-Vietnamese zonal final.
It was the hosts who made a good start with striker Wander Luiz testing Hà Nội goalie Nguyễn Văn Công just 10 minutes into the match.
But the Brazilian’s effort was wide of the mark.
Hà Nội came into life midway through the first half.
Papa Omar Faye, Nguyễn Quang Hải and Nguyễn Thành Chung rotated well in attack to threaten the home goal.
Senegalese Faye’s effort on 24 minutes was saved by Cường who then reacted well to clear the follow up attempt by Hải.
A moment later Cường showed off his talent as he blocked Hải’s finish then stood strong to deny Chung’s glaring chance.
Hà Nội continued attacking and they got the goal at the 33rd mark.
Bình Dương defender Nguyễn Hùng Thiên Đức fouled Hà Nội’s Ngân Văn Đại and the visitors were awarded a spot kick.
Keeper Cường initially saved Quyết’s strike but could do nothing to prevent the former national team midfielder from opening the scoring.
The break did not help Bình Dương much. After the interval they did little to create any meaningful chances despite the introduction of Nguyễn Anh Đức from the bench.
His best chance came with nine minutes remaining but his effort was tame.
The first leg win gave Hà Nội the advantage ahead of their return match at the Hàng Đậu Stadium next Wednesday.
The winner of the tie will receive a huge bonus of US$100,000 from the AFC. They will play Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr FC in the Inter-Zone Semi-finals. — VNS