AFC Cup 2019: Wasteful Hanoi FC hit by last-gasp 4.25 SC sucker punch

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Hanoi FC will be left to rue a plethora of missed opportunities as they conceded an 87th-minute equaliser to be held by 4.25 SC to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the AFC Cup 2019 inter-zone final.

Despite Hanoi enjoying home advantage in Wednesday’s tie at the Hang Day Stadium, it was the visitors who drew first blood after 19 minutes.

Getting the better of his man down the left, Son Pyong-il’s low ball was helped on towards goal by O Hyok-chol and fell kindly into the path of Rim Chol-min, who pounced to opportunistically convert from two yards out after being left unmarked at the far post.

But, just two minutes later, the V.League 1 champions responded after good work from Papa Ibou Kebe saw him work enough space down the right for a cross to Nguyen Van Quyet.

Although his low drive was straight at An Tae-song, the 4.25 goalkeeper made an absolute hash of it and allowed the fairly-tame effort to ricochet off his foot and into the back of the net.

The hosts then took the lead in the 28th minute following some lovely interchange of play on the edge of the box; Nguyen Quang Hai chesting the ball first-time to Pape Omar Faye who then lifted a ball over the defence for Kebe to latch onto and finish past An.

Now in possession of the lead, Hanoi began to really grow in confidence and started creating chances at will but were then let down by some poor finishing.

The usually-prolific Faye was arguably the biggest culprit and also had an effort in the 57th minute disallowed for handball, and the Vietnamese outfit were ultimately made to pay for their profligacy.

With just three minutes remaining, they were in no apparent danger until Van Quyet gave away possession inside his own half and the ball fell to Kim Yu-song, who advanced towards goal and – with no opponent closing him down – proceeded to unleash a stunning 30-yard drive fizzing past Bui Tien Dung into the bottom corner.

The two teams will now meet in Pyongyang next Wednesday for the return encounter, where 4.25 have never lost in 12 home matches in the AFC Cup.

HANOI FC: Nguyen Van Cong (Bui Tien Dung 35’), Tran Van Kien, Do Duy Manh, Nguyen Thanh Chung, Do Hung Dung, Moses Oloya, Truong Van Thai Quy (Pham Duc Huy 79’), Nguyen Quang Hai, Papa Ibou Kebe (Ngan Van Dai 88’), Nguyen Van Quyet, Pape Omar Faye.

4.25 SC: An Tae-song, Kwon Chung-hyok, Pak Jin-myong, An Song-il, Won Song, Choe Chol-su (Yun Il-gwang 83’), Choe Jong-hyok (Pak Song-rok 88’), O Hyok-chol, Son Pyong-il, Rim Chol-min (An Il-bom 76’), Kim Yu-song.