History beckons for 2019 champions
Kuala Lumpur: Asian football history will be made on Monday when DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC and Al Ahed of Lebanon go head-to-head in the highly anticipated 2019 AFC Cup Final in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with both teams aiming to lift the trophy for the first-time ever.
After a captivating journey to the final, both sides are now one match from joining the history books in the 16th edition of the showpiece which will be played at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium at 9pm local time.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa wished both teams the best of luck in the final.
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Shaikh Salman said: “I must congratulate 4.25 SC and Al Ahed for making it to the final – the first time for both clubs.
"The AFC Cup is a competition which has grown from strength-to-strength over the years and like past finals, we can expect another exciting end to a thrilling campaign."
“This year we will crown a new champion for the first time in four years. It is the AFC’s mission to continue providing Asian clubs and players with top level competitions for them to shine and the AFC Cup is a good opportunity to gain valuable experience by playing against other top clubs in the Continent.
“4.25 SC and Al Ahed have shown their abilities to reach the final and I wish them the best of luck. Their campaigns have been followed extensively on the AFC’s digital channels and we can expect more when they meet in the deciding match.”
The two first-time finalists have truly proven their credentials after successfully negotiating past tricky hurdles before reaching the 2019 AFC Cup Final.
Since their arrival in the AFC Cup in 2017, 4.25 SC have shown tremendous progress.
After missing out on the final in the last two editions, the three-time East Zonal winners have gone a step further, thanks largely to their star striker Kim Yu-song, who has netted nine times in the campaign.
Kim scored a late leveler in their first-leg tie against Vietnam’s Hanoi FC in a nail-biting 2-2 draw before 4.25 SC held their opponents to a goalless draw to set-up the final clash with Al Ahed. He is now one goal short of equaling the most goals scored in the 2019 AFC Cup.
Their attacking prowess will be put to the test against Al Ahed’s formidable backline which has kept eight clean sheets, the most in the competition. Their goalkeeper Mehdi Khalil has been instrumental in the side - saving 22 of the 25 shots on target.
After becoming only the third Lebanese club to qualify for the AFC Cup final, head coach Bassem Marmar hopes to mastermind his side’s route to victory.
🤔 Who will be higher after Monday's #AFCCupFinal❓— AFC Cup (@AFCCup) October 30, 2019
🇱🇧 Bassem Marmar win percentage = 60%
🇰🇵 O Yun-son win percentage = 60%
Head-to-head for the Al Ahed and 4.25 SC head coaches in #AFCCup2019 👇 pic.twitter.com/ga0VXfg470
The well-organised Al Ahed have been a tough team to break down this season and their impressive rise in the competition will give the side the impetus to become the first Lebanese team to lift the AFC Cup trophy.
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