AFC President congratulates West Zonal and Inter-Zone champions
Kuala Lumpur: AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has congratulated Lebanon’s Al Ahed and DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC for clinching the 2019 AFC Cup West Zonal and Inter-Zone crowns respectively and creating history by reaching their first-ever AFC Cup final.
New signing Ahmed Akaichi repaid the faith placed on him with his 32nd minute strike proving the all-important decider as Al Ahed grabbed a 1-0 aggregate victory over Jordan’s Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
Just 24 hours later in Pyongyang, 4.25 secured their passage on away goals against Hanoi FC after the second leg of the Inter-Zone final ended 0-0 following a 2-2 draw in the first leg.
Al Ahed and 4.25 SC will now chase history in the 2019 AFC Cup final in Pyongyang on November 2.
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Shaikh Salman said: “On behalf of the AFC and Asian football family, I would like to congratulate both Al Ahed and 4.25 SC for producing a remarkable campaign.
“The AFC Cup has grown in quality and stature in recent years, but above all, the tournament represents our Vision to provide more opportunities for our Member Associations to compete in top-level Continental club football."
“It continues to inspire excellence in our clubs and has achieved so much in expanding the reach of the game. And this has been reinforced once again with two new finalists in Al Ahed and 4.25 SC.
“I am confident that both teams will produce a memorable final, one that will showcase the undeniable passion for football that exists on our great Continent and I wish both clubs the very best of luck.”
Al Ahed, who have kept eight clean sheets this season - more than any other team in the competition – will be hoping to become the first Lebanese side to claim the coveted club prize and are the first team from the West Asian nation to reach the final since Safa SC in 2008.
Meanwhile, 4.25 SC came agonisingly close to reaching the final last season but were eliminated in the Inter-Zone final on away goals against Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr. The three-time East Zone champions are just 90 minutes away from becoming the first team from the region to lift the AFC Cup crown.
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