Hanoi FC beat Altyn Asyr of Turkmenistan 3-2 in the first leg of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Inter-Zone semi-finals at Hanoi's Hang Day Stadium on August 20 evening.
Midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai of Hanoi FC (right) vies for the ball with a player for Altyn Asyr in the Asian Football Confederation Cup Inter-Zone semi-final first leg last night.
The Vietnamese team won the game thanks to two goals from star midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai and a penalty in the dying minutes scored by striker Nguyen Van Quyet.
With the advantage of playing at the home stadium, Hanoi FC looked dangerous from the get-go.
However, it was the visiting side which scored the opener just four minutes from the whistle. Taking full advantage of an error by defender Pham Duc Huy, Murak Yakshiyev defeated goalkeeper Nguyen Van Cong with a low shot from the top of the box.
The hosts remained calm after conceding early, continuing to look for counterattacking opportunities.
Latching onto a pass from the left wing, midfielder Pape Omar Faye headed an effort that beat the keeper but hit the crossbar. Unbelievably, Papa Ibou Kebe pounced on the rebound but saw his shot rattle the crossbar too.
The defending V.League champions continued to dominate the game but struggled to find an equaliser.
Just when it looked like they may trail going into the break, Hai delivered for his team in the 41st minute with a perfect free kick from the top of the penalty area that bent around the wall before finding the back of the net.
After the break, both sides pushed hard to find another goal.
Altyn Asyr's goalkeeper Orazmuhamedov Mamed came under increasing pressure from the hosts, but managed to keep his team in the game.
Hanoi’s efforts paid off with another goal from Hai in the 61st minute. He danced into the box from the right-hand side, evading three defenders before sending a fierce shot into the far side of the goal.
But Hanoi’s joy was short-lived. Just two minutes later, a quick counter attack saw Altymyrat Annadurdyyev level the score.
Coach Chu Dinh Nghiem decided to change his midfield after conceding, replacing Ngan Van Dai with veteran Pham Thanh Luong who won the Golden Ball award in 2009, 2011, 2014 and 2016. Luong soon found an opportunity but his long shot hit the side netting.
As Hanoi piled on the pressure late in the match, goalkeeper Mamed fouled Do Hung Dung in the box to give Vietnam a penalty in the 85th minute.
Striker Nguyen Van Quyet stepped up and confidently sent his shot into the upper left corner, sending the crowd at Hang Day into a frenzy.
Hanoi FC will take its 3-2 lead over Altyn Asyr into the second leg of the tie in Turkmenistan on August 27.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has denied a request from the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) to use Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in the upcoming fixture between Vietnam and Thailand, reported VOV news.
V-League champions Hanoi FC are scheduled to face Altyn Asyr FK FC of Turkmenistan in the AFC Cup inter-zone semi-finals with the fixture taking place across two legs on August 20 and August 27.