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4.25 SC cruise into Inter-Zone Final

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Pyongyang: DPR Korea's 4.25 SC beat Home United of Singapore 9-1 in the second leg of the 2018 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-final on Tuesday, to advance with an 11-1 aggregate score.

After claiming a 2-0 victory in the first leg in Singapore last week, the hosts went into the game at Kim Il Sung Stadium as strong favourites but fell behind in the 19th minute when Song Ui-young scored his ninth goal of a superb campaign to give Home United genuine hope of a comeback.

But Om Chol-song levelled four minutes later to ease any nerves among 4.25 before Rim Chol-min gave them the lead on the 30-minute mark to leave the visitors needing to score a further three to progress.

The game was as good as over by the interval as Om added his second in the 40th minute and then completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot two minutes into added time to give the hosts a 4-1 lead at the break.

An Il-bom was brought on early in the second half and scored his 10th of the tournament from the penalty spot almost immediately after, following Shakir Hamzah's dismissal for a second bookable offence.

Han Song-hyok then made it 6-1 and An scored his second to mean he is now the AFC Cup’s leading scorer. There was still time to add to Home United’s woes as substitutes Son Phyong-il and Yun Il-gwang got in on the act in the final 11 minutes to complete a miserable evening for the visitors as the game ended 9-1.

The victory will have gone some way towards erasing the memories of 4.25’s defeat to India’s JSW Bengaluru at the same stage last year after the Pyongyang side were unable to overcome a 3-0 first-leg deficit.

And 4.25 may even get the chance to avenge that loss in next month’s Inter-Zone Final, where they will take on the winners of the clash between Bengaluru and Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr, with the latter 3-2 up ahead of Wednesday’s second leg in Ashgabat.