Tuesday , February 27 2024

Hà Nội win to end AFC Champions League campaign


Hà Nội FC players celebrate their 2-1 win against Urawa Red Diamonds on Wednesday at the Mỹ Đình Stadium. Photos of VFF

HÀ NỘI — Hà Nội FC ended their AFC Champions League quest with a surprise win over defending champions Urawa Red Diamonds 2-1 on Wednesday at the Mỹ Đình Stadium.

The hosts were already eliminated from the tournament and fielded a team of young players. Coach Maciej Skorza’s team from Japan needed to win to have any hope of advancing to the last 16.

The Diamonds’ Alexander Scholz had his 10th-minute penalty saved before Đào Văn Nam gave Hà Nội an unlikely lead eight minutes into the second half and, although Bryan Linssen equalised 12 minutes later, the home side took the points when Phạm Tuấn Hải converted an 87th-minute spot-kick.

In the other Group J match, China’s Wuhan Three Towns drew 1-1 with Pohang Steelers of South Korea. It meant Urawa finished second but their tally of seven points was not enough to claim one of the three best runners-up berths in the round of 16 draw later this month. Urawa had no chance to defend their title.

Young striker Hải of Hà Nội became the second Vietnamese player to score four goals in a Champions League season. Meanwhile, with his outstanding performance throughout the game, goalkeeper Nguyễn Văn Hoàng received VNĐ100 million bonus from the club’s owner.

Đào Văn Nam celebrates after opening the scoring.

“I am really happy at present and proud of what my team has done,” said coach Lê Đức Tuấn.

“Before the game, we were determined to play a beautiful match and the players did a great job, of meeting our supporters’ hopes.

“We played counter-attack and switched to attacking style in suitable moments. My youngsters were given opportunities to play with experienced seniors. This match would help them grow faster in their career. 

“This win will be a strong push when we are back to the V.League 1 this week,” he said.

Urawa assistant coach Rafal Janas congratulated Hà Nội for the win and said the hosts deserved to take three points.

“We were not subjective and prepared well for the match,” he said.

“We did not think about a loss. We knew it would be not as easy as when we beat them 6-0 in the first meet. It would be a tough game as Hà Nội were determined with what they showed in a win over Wuhan Three Towns.

“Hà Nội played well in all 90 minutes while we could not take our opportunities. It was the second time that we wasted a penalty. Urawa players seemed tired after recent tense matches.” VNS



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