AFC Cup 2019: Quang Hai brilliance inspires Hanoi FC to first-leg win over Altyn Asyr

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Hanoi FC hold a one-goal lead in their AFC Cup 2019 inter-zone semi-final against Altyn Asyr after Nguyen Quang Hai inspired them to a 3-2 triumph in Tuesday’s first leg at the Hang Day Stadium.

It was the visitors from Turkmenistan who stunned the home crowd by taking the lead after just four minutes as they capitalised on their opponents’ lapse in concentration; Myrat Yagsyyew beating the offside trap to run onto Myrat Annayew’s pass and getting enough on his shot to force it past Nguyen Van Cong.

The hosts were unlucky not to equalise in the 23rd minute when Pape Omar Faye met Quang Hai’s left-wing delivery with a header that came back off the bar, before Papa Ibou Kebe’s follow-up effort bounced into the ground and also was kept out by the woodwork.

AFC Cup 2019: Hanoi FC 1-1 Altyn Asyr (Nguyen Quang Hai 41′)

Four minutes before the break, however, they were was to be no denying the Vietnamese outfit as Quang Hai rose to the occasion, lining up a freekick on the edge of the area and curling away a delightful effort that left opposition keeper Mammet Orazmuhammedow rooted to the spot.

Quang Hai was looming as the potential match-winner for his side and he duly struck again a minute after the hour mark, forcing his way free down the right and into the area before unleashing a ferocious drive that had Orazmuhammedow beaten all ends up.

AFC Cup 2019: Hanoi FC 2-1 Altyn Asyr (Nguyen Quang Hai 61′)

But, just two minutes later, more sloppy play at the back from Hanoi saw them give away possession inside their own half and Yagsyyew turned provider on this occasion as his incisive through-ball was clinically finished by Altymyrat Annadurdyyew into the bottom corner.

Hanoi then had a glorious chance to make it 3-2 when Moses Oloya pounced on a loose ball inside the area and fired a low drive past Orazmuhammedow, only to see the ball cleared to safety by a desperate Mekan Saparow’s fantastic recovery attempt.

Nonetheless, there was still time for one final twist as Do Hung Dung burst into the six-yard box before being hauled down by Orazmuhammedow to earn a penalty, paving the way for Nguyen Van Quyet to lash home from 12 yards with just two minutes remaining and win it for his side.

Still, having conceded two aways goals, Hanoi do have plenty of work to do in next Tuesday’s return encounter at the Kopetdag Stadium in Ashgabat, although they can – for now – take pride in being the first ASEAN representatives to win an inter-zone match since the introduction of the competition’s current format in 2017.

HANOI FC: Nguyen Van Cong, Pham Duc Huy, Do Duy Manh, Nguyen Thanh Chung, Nguyen Van Dung, Moses Oloya, Do Hung Dung, Nguyen Quang Hai, Ngan Van Dai (Pham Thanh Luong 71’), Papa Ibou Kebe, Pape Omar Faye (Nguyen Van Quyet 55’).

ALTYN ASYR: Mammet Orazmuhammedow, Bagtyyar Gurgenow, Mekan Saparow, Zafar Babajanow, Gurbangeldi Batyrow, Resul Hojayew, Serdar Geldiyew, Myrat Annayew (Selim Atayew 74’), Myrat Yagsyyew, Altymyrat Annadurdyyew (Mihail Titow 71’), Selim Nurmyradow (Begench Akmamedow 89’).