Inter-Zone Semi-Final 1st Leg - Preview: Abahani Limited Dhaka vs 4.25 SC
Dhaka: Southern Zonal champions Abahani Limited Dhaka will host East Zonal winners 4.25 SC of DPR Korea in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone semi-finals on Wednesday.
The two-legged tie, with the return clash coming next week in Pyongyang, will see the winners progress to the Inter-Zone final in mid-September.
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Abahani Limited Dhaka
Bangladesh side Abahani made continental history by becoming the first club from their nation to make the knockout stages of the AFC Cup.
The country had been represented in seven editions prior to 2019, but Abahani have now taken Bangladeshi football to new heights with their exploits, and the capital city side will look to continue making milestones.
The Sky Blues topped Group E with an impressive four wins out of six, ahead of Indian pair Chenniayin FC and Minerva Punjab, and boasted an unbeaten record at home.
However they were seconds away from elimination on Matchday Six, only for Masih Saighani's stoppage time header to break the goalless deadlock with Minerva and secure first place in dramatic fashion.
Haitian forward Kervens Belfort has been a collossus up front for Abahani leading the current side in chances created (15), goals scored (2) and assists (2).
In particular, the six-footer gives a much-needed physical presence to the side – his 57 duels won is 30 more than his next highest teammate!
Having reached the Inter-Zone Final last year, DPR Korea side 4.25 SC will be keen to at least match that in their third appearance in the AFC Cup.
The Pyongyang club cemented their status as the best in the East Zone by winning Group I for a third consecutive year, five points clear of second placed Kitchee SC of Hong Kong.
4.25 SC have last year's AFC Cup Top Scorer An Il Bom in their ranks, but the 2019 campaign has seen Kim Yu-song, top scorer in the 2017 edition, rise to the fore once again.
The striker has once again been in prolific form, with his five goals coming from just four group stage matches.
Ones To Watch:
Abahani Limited Dhaka vs 4.25 SC
Venue: Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka
Kick-off: August 21, 18:45 UTC+6
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