First leg is behind us, insists 'keeper Orazmuhammedov
Hanoi: Altyn Asyr FC goalkeeper Mammet Orazmuhammedov has revealed that head coach Yazguly Hojageldiyev urged his players not to be downbeat after the Turkmen side suffered a 3-2 defeat to Hanoi FC in the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-final first leg on Tuesday.
A thrilling contest saw Murat Yakshiyev stun the Vietnamese support with an early opener at the Hang Day Stadium before Altymyrat Annadurdyyev cancelled out two Nguyen Quang Hai goals by levelling proceedings midway through the second half.
However, with Hanoi pushing for the winner, Orazmuhammedov was adjudged to have brought down Do Hung Dung with three minutes remaining and Nguyen Van Quyet struck the winner from the spot to round off a game gripped with drama.
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“After this hard game, the head coach came to every single player and thanked us for our efforts,” revealed Orazmuhammedov.
“He spoke about the penalty and said, whether it was or wasn’t, it’s now behind us, and we shouldn’t be disheartened because we have an extra game to come at home and we may need just one goal.
“It’s not a satisfactory result for us. If it had been 2-2 it would have been good for us but we lost 3-2. In the second match we will play at home so we could need just one goal to go further.”
It was a cruel end to the game for the 32-year-old, who had been in fine form throughout, tipping Papa Ibou Kebe's first-half effort onto the bar in a period that saw the hosts hit the woodwork twice in quick succession.
As Hanoi continued to apply the pressure after the interval, Orazmuhammedov produced a flying save to deny Ngan Van Dai from distance and got down low to thwart Van Quyet as it looked increasingly like the Turkmen side would leave the Vietnamese capital with a draw.
But as the clock ticked down, the goalkeeper dived low in an attempt to prevent Hung Dung rounding him but mistimed by the narrowest of margins to allow the hosts to complete the scoring in contest that will live long in the memory.
“Hanoi played at home and their fans drove them to play well,” added Orazmuhammedov.
“They were good at holding onto the ball, attacked well on the flanks and their passing was good. In general, they kept possession well and performed well.
"The second game will have a lot to do with how we need to score. We need to try very hard to score and also concede nothing at the back.”
The return meeting will take place at Ashgabat’s Kopetdag Stadium on August 27, with Altyn Asyr aiming to advance to the Inter-Zone Final for the second year in a row.
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