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Faye eyeing top scorer accolade

Hanoi: Pape Omar Faye has admitted that he has the 2019 AFC Cup top scorer award in his sights as Hanoi FC prepare to take on domestic rivals Becamex Binh Duong in the second leg of the ASEAN Zonal Final on Wednesday.

With seven goals on the Continent so far, Senegalese forward Faye has scored more than any other player left in the tournament and he will have a chance to add to his tally when Binh Duong visit Hang Day Stadium looking to overhaul a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.

Faye remains three goals behind the competition’s top scorer Bienvenido Maranon of Ceres Negros, but the Spaniard’s side exited the 2019 AFC Cup after Faye scored home and away in a 3-2 aggregate win in the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals.

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“Of course I want to be the top scorer in the AFC Cup,” Faye said. “Last year I played in the tournament and that was also my aim then.

“But there’s no pressure on me because at Hanoi everybody can score goals. I try to score but it’s not only me that scores, I just try to help the team as best I can.

“We score many goals because we play attacking football. Our coach wants us to attack and we try to keep the ball not in our half but in the opponent’s half. That’s why anytime there’s a chance, we’ll try to score.”

Faye, who first arrived in Vietnam in 2011, netted three times for FLC Thanh Hoa in last year’s AFC Cup but the V.League side failed to advance to the knockout rounds.

The 32-year-old has come back even stronger this year after signing for the Vietnamese champions in the off season and he has been a key figure in a squad brimming with local talent.

The Senegalese is aware that Hanoi are strong favourites going into the second leg against Binh Duong – who they also defeated 2-1 in the V.League at the weekend – but knows there is a long way to go before an Inter-Zone semi-final date against Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr is secured

ASEAN Zonal Final - 1st Leg: Becamex Binh Duong v Hanoi FC

“Yes, we have a little bit of a psychological advantage but when it’s a final it’s very hard and you must concentrate very hard – it’s very important,” Faye added.

“Binh Duong are very good. Maybe we had more luck than them in the recent games and that’s why we beat them, but next time we’ll play like it’s 0-0 all over again.

“No matter what the score is, at Hanoi we always play the same way and we must keep the same attacking style – concentrate and play together.

“I’m very happy our team has won so many games and to be doing so well in the AFC Cup. Since the start of the tournament, our target has been to win it.”

Photo: Hanoi FC

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