Pyongyang: 4.25 SC’s Kim Yu-song has revealed that Hanoi FC’s forced goalkeeper change in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Final was what gave the striker the confidence to shoot from distance and secure a late 2-2 draw.
With the DPR Korea side 2-1 down at Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi’s goalkeeper Nguyen Van Cong picked up an injury and was replaced by Bui Tien Dung in the 35th minute.
The hosts went on to dominate large spells of the second half but were unable to make their superiority count and, with three minutes to play, Kim’s sweetly struck effort from 25 yards found its way into the back of the net to secure the draw and a potentially crucial second away goal.
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“I had confidence I could score from far out, especially because their goalkeeper had changed,” admitted Kim ahead of the second leg at Kim Il-sung Stadium on Wednesday.
“Everyone is happy to score because in football scoring goals is the most important thing. I knew Hanoi had brought on a new goalkeeper, so I decided to shoot from distance.
“But I don’t think that the goalkeeper made a mistake, I was just confident in my ability and struck it well.”
Top scorer in his debut AFC Cup in 2017, nine-goal Kim now boasts 24 goals to his name in the past three Continental campaigns, having also now equaled his tally from two years ago.
It was Kim’s second-leg double that took 4.25 past Bangladeshi team Abahani Limited Dhaka in the previous round as the Pyongyang side reversed a 4-3 first leg deficit to win 5-4 on aggregate.
With two away goals in the bag, 4.25 will start the return meeting against Hanoi with an advantage, while in 14 AFC Cup games in Pyongyang, they have yet to taste defeat.
“We are now looking towards the home game; the first match was just the first step towards reaching the final,” added Kim.
“Hanoi are very strong going forward, but we will have an advantage because our fans can help us win the game.
"Needless to say, I’d be very happy if I could finish the competition as top scorer, but it would be an award I’d share that with my teammates.”
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