Hanoi: Nguyen Anh Duc rued missed opportunities after Becamex Binh Duong exited the 2019 AFC Cup at the hands of domestic rivals Hanoi FC on Wednesday, with a 1-0 defeat at Hang Day Stadium ensuring the hosts advanced 2-0 on aggregate.
Binh Duong went into the second leg of the ASEAN Zonal Final needing to win in the Vietnamese capital and threatened the Hanoi goal of several occasions in the first 60 minutes but were unable to find that elusive goal.
Then, shortly after the hour, Pape Omar Faye gave the visitors a mountain to climb as the Senegalese pounced to open the scoring from a few yards out and, ultimately, seal Hanoi’s place in the Inter-Zone semi-finals.
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“I’m very sorry that our team could not go further in the tournament, but we will learn from this experience and come back and do better next year,” said the Binh Duong captain,
“There are some regrets, but the biggest one is when To Van Vu put in a great cross from the right and Wander Luiz missed the good chance.
“If we had more luck in that situation, then things could have been different.”
The second leg brought an end to a run of three successive games in just eight days where the Vietnamese powerhouses have faced off.
A niggling injury saw Anh Duc left on the bench for the first leg to be brought on as a late substitute, before the striker started and scored in the 2-1 V.League defeat in Hanoi on Saturday.
Following two tight contests, Binh Duong were confident it would be third time lucky against their rivals, but a superb goal-line clearance by Hanoi defender Nguyen Thanh Chung early in the second half was perhaps evidence it was not to be their night.
Anh Duc, who had a couple of half chances when brought off the bench in the first leg, had little by way of goal-scoring opportunities on Wednesday, with 180 minutes of action in the end yielding no goals for his team.
“The weather was very hot and because of this I don’t think I played to my potential, which is something I regret,” admitted Anh Duc.
“We had to play three games against Hanoi in eight days so most of our players were very tired. We tried our best but we still lost and we have to accept the result.”
With Binh Duong well off the pace set by Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the V.League, their only likely route back to next year’s AFC Cup appears to be the Vietnamese Cup.
The Thu Dau Mot City club are the defending champions – having beaten Hanoi in the 2018 semi-finals – and they face a last-four date with Quang Nam in October, while yet another clash with Hanoi potentially awaits in the final.
“I think Hanoi were better in attack; we played two games but didn’t shoot at goal,” added Burkina Faso defender Ali Rabo. “When Hanoi attack, they shoot, and that’s why they’re better than us.
“We still have the semi-finals of the Vietnamese Cup, so we’ll try to win it and come back stronger next year.”
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