Hà Nội FC seen in the first leg with North Korea’s April 25 Sports Club at the AFC Cup Inter-zonal Final at Hàng Đẫy Stadium. The two sides will meet again today at Kim Il-sung Stadium. — Photo toquoc.vn
HÀ NỘI — V.league 1 champions Hà Nội FC will be gunning for glory against North Korea's April 25 Sports Club (4.25 SC) in the second leg of AFC Cup Inter-zonal Final at Kim Il-sung Stadium today.
The two sides drew 2-2 in the first leg at Hàng Đẫy Stadium in Hà Nội.
ASEAN Zonal champions Hà Nội need to beat their rival who were East Zonal winners or finish with a high-scoring draw.
The team from the capital will feature the first Vietnamese side to play at the ground since a training session held by Thể Công in 1968.
Hà Nội's attack will feature Nguyễn Văn Quyết, Nguyễn Quang Hải and Pape Omar Faye.
However, Hà Nội will be without No 1 goalkeeper Nguyễn Văn Công due to injury. Bùi Tiến Dũng or Phí Minh Long will stand in for him having not featured much this season.
“Anything can happen in football. Hà Nội’s strength lies in solidarity. I have high hopes we will complete our mission of defeating 4.25 SC and making it through to the next round,” said coach Chu Đình Nghiêm.
“Công’s injury is a pity for the whole team. However, Long and I will try our best. Hà Nội have arrived in North Korea determined to win. We will give more than 100 per cent,” said goalie Dũng.
According to defender Đỗ Duy Mạnh, 4.25 SC are a strong team with good discipline and physical strength. Hà Nội will have to overcome these difficulties if they want to get a good result.
“As a defender, it’s really tough to play against tall and powerful forwards, but we will have to stop them in the second leg,” said Mạnh.
Beating the North Korean side will be a tough task for Hà Nội.
With two away goals in the bag, 4.25 SC will start the return meeting with an advantage. Moreover, since making their AFC Cup debut in 2017, 4.25 SC have played 14 games at home and have yet to taste defeat.
“We are looking to the home game; the first match was just the first step towards reaching the final,” said striker Kim Yu-song, who is the tournament’s joint second scorer with nine goals.
“Hà Nội are very strong going forward, but we will have an advantage because our fans can help us win the game,” Kim added.
In their two previous AFC Cup appearances, 4.25 SC have reached the Inter-Zone semi-finals and the Inter-Zone Final. With a formidable home record and two away goals in the bag, O Yun-son’s side are confident of reaching the final.
However, with confidence after wrapping up a second successive V. League title and having not been beaten in more than four months, Hà Nội are expected to make a splash in North Korea.
The match will begin at 3pm (Hà Nội time) today, but due to local rules, it won’t be broadcast live. — VNS