First leg is already behind us, insists 4.25 SC skipper Rim
Hanoi: After 4.25 SC scored a late equaliser to secure a 2-2 draw against Hanoi FC in the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Final first leg on Wednesday, captain Rim Chol-min has said the DPR Korea side are now firmly focused on the return meeting in Pyongyang.
Rim put the visitors in front in the 19th minute when he finished from just a few yards out, but 4.25 found themselves 2-1 down by the half hour as Nguyen Van Quyet and Papa Ibou Kebe netted to raise the volume inside Hang Day Stadium.
Hanoi then had a number of golden chances to increase their lead but, after failing to make their dominance count, striker Kim Yu-song stunned the home support with just three minutes remaining when his left-foot strike from 25 yards flew into the back of the net to seal the draw.
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“I’m not disappointed with the performance but this match was definitely not our best,” said Rim, who also scored away at Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka in the previous round.
“I told my teammates that we will have to do everything to win the second leg because now the first match is not important. The only important thing now is the final result.
“Although we did not show our best form today, I’m very happy to draw the match and we’ll now do our best to win the second leg at home.”
Appearing in the knockout rounds for the third successive year, 4.25 suffered an agonising defeat at the same stage in 2018 when an away goals loss to Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr saw them eliminated despite having not lost a game throughout the tournament.
Indeed, the Koreans had also drawn the first leg of the Inter-Zone Final 2-2 against the Turkmens before the eventual 3-3 aggregate scoreline, following a 1-1 stalemate in Ashgabat, saw them lose out by the narrowest of margins.
In contrast, however, the Pyongyang club have the advantage of playing the second leg at home this time round and have two potentially crucial away goals after Kim’s late leveler.
FULL-TIME | Hanoi FC 🇻🇳 2-2 4.25 SC 🇰🇵— AFC Cup (@AFCCup) September 25, 2019
👏 What a dramatic end to the 1st leg of the Inter-Zone Final! April 25 SC scored a late equalizer and are heading home with 2 away goals!
#HANv425 #AFCCup2019 pic.twitter.com/OCDMDoZWNf
“The second goal was more important than my goal because without Kim Yu-song’s goal we could not draw this match,” said Rim.
“Our intention was to at least draw so I’m satisfied with the result and we now have the home game against Hanoi. Without confidence that we can win the AFC Cup, we would not be here.”
The Korean side will now welcome Hanoi to the DPR Korea capital for the second leg at Kim Il-sung Stadium on October 2, with both sides aiming to reach the final for the first time.
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