Hanoi: Despite putting in a Man-of-the-Match performance, Nguyen Quang Hai has admitted that he is not satisfied with Hanoi FC's 3-2 victory over Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr in the first leg of the 2019 AFC Cup Inter-Zone semi-final on Tuesday.
The midfielder was at his inspirational best at Hang Day Stadium, levelling the score at 1-1 with a sumptuous free-kick after the visitors had taken and early lead through Murat Yakshiyev that stunned the home support.
Quang Hai then produced another moment of magic just after the hour, evading three defenders before curling home with aplomb with a goal that was arguably even better than his first.
Altyn Asyr equalised almost immediately, although Hanoi got the win they will feel their performance deserved when substitute Nguyen Van Quyet finished from the spot with two minutes to play after Do Hung Dung had been upended in the box.
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“Yes, we did very well in this game although it was disappointing we missed so many chances," admitted the 22-year-old, whose goals were his first of the Continental campaign.
“I tried my best to play with a positive mentality and I felt very good about my game. I'm very happy I was able to score two goals and help my team get a good result.
“The most important thing is that we got the victory and we have an advantage ahead of the second leg, but we know we will have to do much better.”
Although the hosts came out the blocks firing, conceding the early away goal would have been a bitter pill to swallow for the Vietnamese side as the tone was set for an action-packed encounter.
Hanoi struck the woodwork twice in quick succession through Pape Omar Faye and Papa Ibou Kebe, before Quang Hai’s free-kick four minutes before the interval saw the sides go in level.
The all-out attack continued after the restart, but after Quang Hai’s second Hanoi were again caught by the sucker punch when Altymyrat Annadurdyyev found the bottom corner against the run of play.
“I think about my performances after each game and my mindset is that I always need to do better in the next match,” said Quang Hai.
“Before this game we only focused on the first leg, but now we have the experience of playing against Altyn Asyr we will be able to analyse them and prepare even better for the next game.
“To be honest, we're not really satisfied with the result but we gave it everything we had tonight.”
Captain Van Quyet had been left on the bench due to carrying a slight injury, but was introduced early in the second half.
With the score at 2-2, Altyn Asyr goalkeeper Mammet Orazmuhammedov tipped a low drive from the 28-year-old round the post before Ugandan Moses Oloya saw his goalbound attempt cleared off the line by Mekan Saparov.
But Hanoi’s pressure finally paid off when Orazmuhammedov brought down Hung Dung with three minutes to play and Van Quyet dispatched the ensuing spot-kick.
“I really wanted to start the game so it was disappointing, but the players on the pitch showed good spirit because we were not only playing for Hanoi but for Vietnamese football,” added Van Quyet.
“We are always very confident when playing at home because we have a very long unbeaten record, so even though I was on the bench I believed in my teammates.
“We played very well today and had many clear-cut opportunities. We controlled the game and I think this proves we've reached an even higher level as Altyn Asyr are a very strong opponent.
“Penalties are always very special for me and I am used to scoring important goals like that. This is a really big victory for Hanoi Football Club.”
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