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Hanoi FC clinch ASEAN title

Hanoi: Vietnam’s Hanoi FC were crowned 2019 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Champions on Wednesday after a 1-0 home win over domestic rivals Becamex Binh Duong in the second leg of their regional final.

Leading 1-0 from last week’s first leg, Pape Omar Faye’s second-half strike – his eighth goal of the competition – ultimately sealed a 2-0 aggregate success for Hanoi, one which earns them a spot in the Inter-Zone Semi-finals where they will now face Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr FC.

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After a cautious start to proceedings at the Hang Day Stadium, it was to be Hanoi who fashioned the game’s first genuine opportunity, striker Faye failing to connect properly with an excellent delivery from Ngan Van Dai when only six yards out on 16 minutes.

Moments later, Binh Duong’s Veniamin Shumeyko flicked a neat header narrowly wide of the target, before the defender came perilously close to steering Nguyen Van Quyet’s cross into his own net.

In the last notable action of a compelling first period, Hanoi midfielder Do Hung Dung flashed a fierce drive just beyond the right-hand upright to leave his side within touching distance of the next round.

Binh Duong were quick out of the blocks after the break, Pedro seeing a powerful header expertly saved by Nguyen Van Cong on 47 minutes and the Brazilian forward then having an angled shot acrobatically cleared off the line by Hanoi’s Nguyen Thanh Chung.

Hanoi responded well however, and they duly took the lead shortly after the hour mark courtesy of Faye’s precise finish from close range after Binh Duong goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong’s failure to gather a Quang Hai corner.

With Hanoi still in the ascendancy, Tan Truong reacted superbly well to parry Nguyen Quang Hai’s 68th minute shot while Ngan Van Dai could only poke the rebound agonisingly wide of the target.

As full-time approached, To Van Vu’s drive briefly hinted at a remarkable Binh Duong recovery but it was not to be as, with substitute Papa Kebe missing a glorious chance late on for the hosts, Hanoi held firm in the final moments to seal their progress.

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