Pyongyang: 4.25 SC's winning run at home may have ended but head coach O Yun-son was nonetheless satisfied after the DPR Korea club progressed to the 2019 AFC Cup final on Wednesday.
4.25 sealed a place in their inaugural AFC Cup final after playing to a 0-0 draw with Vietnam's Hanoi FC, advancing on away goals after the first leg had ended 2-2.
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A goalless draw against Hanoi wasn't expected, especially as 4.25 had won all four previous AFC Cup matches at the Kim Il-sung Stadium this season but O paid tribute to a "tough Hanoi FC."
The Vietnam club gave the second leg their all but 4.25, despite not playing their best, managed to avoid conceding the one goal that would have taken Hanoi through.
“I’m very satisfied with the result although in the second half, our performance was not to the satisfaction of the fans," said the Korean tactician.
“I could not do anything because our players thought that they just needed a draw.”
Hanoi's decision to send on Papa Ibou Kébé in place of Ngan Van Dai even had 4.25 on the ropes, a fact which O admitted.
"His entry almost resulted in my team succumbing to nerves."
Kébé's entry did galvanise Hanoi as they increased their efforts to find a breakthrough.
“And then they (4.25 players) became weaker physically. From the time Hanoi’s No 38 player (Kébé) was sent on to the field, our players became strained and nervous. And our defence faced bigger pressure,” said O.
The 4.25 defence, however, maintained their record of not having conceded at home in the 2019 AFC Cup and that steered the DPR Korea into the AFC Cup final against Lebanon's Al Ahed on November 2.
For O, the Hanoi test was a timely challenge for his side.
“We have the lesson from this game, so we will play well in the next stage.”
The final will be played at the Kim Il-sung Stadium.
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