Hanoi: Won Song has insisted that DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC are confident they can be crowned 2019 AFC Cup champions as they get set to face Vietnam’s Hanoi FC in the first leg of the Inter-Zone Final at Hang Day Stadium on Wednesday.
The Pyongyang club are taking part in the tournament for the third successive year, having reached the Inter-Zone semi-finals in 2017 and the Inter-Zone Final last year, when they were eliminated on away goals by Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr.
But 4.25 returned to once again advance to the knockout rounds and then defeated Bangladesh’s Abahani Limited Dhaka in the previous stage to line up a clash with ASEAN Zonal champions Hanoi.
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“I’m very pleased to be at this stage to play against Hanoi FC,” said the defender, who was suspended for the 4-3 first-leg loss to Abahani but returned for the 2-0 victory at home.
“We have been really good in this tournament so far because all the players have supported each other and made contributions towards the games we’ve won. I hope we all work together on Wednesday and defeat Hanoi FC.
“Last year we lost to Altyn Asyr at the same stage but this year we have worked to improve on the mistakes that we made. We now are very confident we can win the title this time.”
Since debuting in 2017, 4.25 have been one of the most consistent teams in the competition, losing just once – to India's JSW Bengaluru – in their maiden campaign.
Last year they performed even better, winning their first eight matches before exiting in cruel fashion after a pair of draws against Altyn Asyr.
While they have suffered two defeats this time round, they are back in the latter stages once more, with eight-goal striker Kim Yu-song again among the goals as they target a place in the final for the first time.
And, as opposed to 2018, O Yun-son’s team will play the first leg of the Inter-Zone Final away from home, returning to Pyongyang’s Kim Il-sung Stadium for the decisive return meeting.
“The most important thing on the football field is scoring goals and Kim Yu-song has already scored eight goals up to now so he plays such an important role in our team,” added Won.
“We think it’s fortunate we have the away leg first because last year we lost at this stage against Altyn Asyr when the first leg was in Pyongyang.
“I think it’s an advantage that we are away first and home second and I believe this can help us get to the final.”
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