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Season’s target is AFC Cup, reveals Hanoi’s Samson

Hanoi: Hanoi FC forward Hoang Vu Samson has admitted that winning the AFC Cup was the Vietnamese side’s main aim ahead of the 2019 season. 

The V.League team will host Ceres Negros in the second leg of the ASEAN Zonal semi-finals on Tuesday holding the slimmest of advantages after Pape Omar Faye's away goal in the 1-1 draw in the Philippines in last week’s first leg.

With 24 goals already to their name, Hanoi are the competition’s top scorers, although to progress to the Zonal final for the first time they must overcome a Ceres team who have appeared in each of the past two ASEAN finals and have won all three of their away games in this year’s AFC Cup.

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“The main target for us this season was to win the AFC Cup and, if we can do so, we would be the first Vietnamese team to achieve it,” said Samson.

“We were delighted with the draw away from home because they are a very strong team and in 2017 we lost 6-2 in Bacolod City.

“But I also think it will be an advantage for us to play the second leg at home because we will have our fans cheering us on to victory.”

A brief stint in Thailand with Buriram United aside, Samson has been at Hanoi since 2011 and has scored well over 100 goals for the capital city club.

The Nigeria-born naturalised Vietnamese citizen has started the majority of 2019 AFC Cup games on the bench, tending to be introduced in the second half.

He has one goal to his name – on Matchday Five against Cambodia’s NagaWorld – and insists he will be ready if called upon on Tuesday.

“I’m always ready, and coming on in the second half has been the coach’s tactics for us to win more games, so I hope I can help the team in the second leg too,” added Samson, who was brought on with 15 minutes to play in the first leg.

“To be honest, we could have scored more in the Philippines but because there was so much rain It made it difficult – I think there will be more goals in Hanoi.

“But we know their players have great technical ability and keep possession well, so we have to be prepared for that in the second leg.”

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