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Return leg against 4.25 will be tough, says Duy Manh

Hanoi: Do Duy Manh has admitted that Hanoi FC will have to overcome a number of obstacles if they are to defeat DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC at Kim Il-sung Stadium on Wednesday and advance to the 2019 AFC Cup Final. 

The sides played out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the first leg of the Inter-Zone Final in Hanoi last week but 4.25’s pair of away goals in Vietnam ensures they will begin the return meeting with an advantage.

Recently crowned Vietnamese champions Hanoi will now need to do what no other side has managed in the AFC Cup: win in Pyongyang – or secure a high-scoring draw – if they are to progress to a first Continental final.

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“We have to concentrate 100 percent because it will be a very difficult game away from home, with the [artificial] pitch, the weather and other factors,” said Duy Manh, who celebrates his 23rd birthday on Sunday.

“As a defender it’s really tough to play against such tall and powerful forwards, but we will have to stop them in the second leg. 

“I think 4.25 SC are a strong team because they are very well disciplined and have good physical conditioning. We have to overcome all these difficulties in order to get a good result.”

Inter-Zone Final - 1st Leg: Hanoi FC vs 4.25 SC

 In a gripping first leg at Hang Day Stadium, Hanoi fell behind against the run of play when 4.25 captain Rim Chol-min nudged home from close range.

But the hosts, who have not lost in any competition since late May, fought back as Nguyen Van Quyet and Papa Ibou Kebe gave them a 2-1 lead at the interval.

Hanoi had chances to extend their advantage in the second half but failed to make the most of them and Kim Yu-song’s late long-range effort sealed a 2-2 draw and left the Vietnamese side with a mountain to climb.

“It was a very tough game for both teams; we tried our best to put a show on for our fans and win at home but we could only manage a draw,” reflected Duy Manh.

“I think 2-2 was a fair result, but we now need to try even harder in the second leg. We will learn from our mistakes in order to improve for the next game in Pyongyang.

“We know anything can happen in football, so the team must stay focused in the second leg.”

Since debuting in the competition in 2017, 4.25 have played 14 games in Pyongyang and have yet to taste defeat as they have reached three successive knockout rounds.

But something will have to give at Kim Il-sung Stadium as Hanoi, who wrapped up a second successive V. League title just over a week ago, have not been beaten in more than four months and chase a historic treble, with the capital city club also in the Vietnamese Cup semi-finals.

“Our strength is that we are united as a team,” added Duy Manh. “I hope we can get the result we need and win the next leg.”

Photo: Hanoi FC

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