Inter-Zone Semi-Final 1st Leg: Home United 0-2 4.25 SC
Singapore: Goals from Pak Myong-song and An Il-bom saw 4.25 SC put one foot in the AFC Cup Inter-Zone final following a 2-0 win over Home United in the first leg of the Inter-Zone Semi-finals on Tuesday.
In a match they dominated for long spells, DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC were unable to find the breakthrough in the opening half, but goals after the break from the hugely impressive Pak Myong-song and substitute An Il-bom look to have now put the East Zone champions in the driving seat ahead of next week’s second leg in Pyongyang.
The visitors did much of the early pressing and Han Song-hyok’s shot went close to opening the scoring on six minutes as he clipped the right post with a shot from distance.
There was more goal-mouth action again not long after as Home United’s goalkeeper Eko Pradana Putra failed to deal with a corner from the right and Pak’s header needed to be cleared off the line by a covering defender.
The hosts’ best chance of the first half came on the half-hour mark when Shahril Ishak sent Isaka Cernak down the right side of the area, but the Singapore international could only turn the return cutback wide of An Tae-song’s goal.
Barely a minute later, Pak went inches from a wonderful opener at the other end of the field, clattering the crossbar with a venomous left-footed shot from 30 yards out that left Eko beaten.
And the DPR Korea club continued where they left off after the half-time break, Om Chol-song heading Sim Hyon-jin’s low cross narrowly wide, before Eko was called into a brace of fine stops to deny first Om from close range and then Ri Hyong-jin following up on the rebound.
The away side’s leading scorer An Il-bom came off the bench on the hour-mark as 4.25 SC sought to turn their dominance into goal, and the breakthrough duly came two minutes later, albeit in spectacular fashion from the feet of Pak.
The midfielder drove down the left of the penalty box, checked back onto his right, and curled a superb effort over Eko and into the far corner to put 4.25 SC in front.
Pak could have doubled his tally with 18 minutes remaining but when through on goal, and with only an onrushing Eko to beat, he could only steer his effort wide.
Nevertheless, the prolific An rounded off the scoring for his ninth goal of the tournament in the 82nd minute as Home United were caught short at the back and he tapped home from Rim Chol-min’s square pass.
The action will now switch to the DPR Korea capital on August 28 with Home United facing a mountain to climb should they wish to progress to the Inter-Zone final and meet either India’s JSW Bengaluru or Altyn Asyr of Turkmenistan.