Friday, August 18, 2017 - 23:29:52

Hanoi T&T set to claim AFC Cup quarters

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The Asian Football Federation Cup's quarter-final first leg match between Hanoi T&T and Arbil FC is expected to see many scores at the capital city on August 19.

It is a match between two rivals, whose players have the highest scoring rate of the season, as both sides have scored 19 goals each during the group round.

However, T&T, the former Vietnamese champions, displayed a better performance recently, defeating Nay Pyi Taw of Myanmar 5-0 in the first stage game in May. Also, the Iraqis only qualified after winning the penalty shootout in a match versus Al Nejmeh of Lebanon.

At this match, T&T will field their best scorers, including national midfielder Nguyen Van Quyet, who has scored six goals.

All of the host players are in a good mood, although last week they failed to defend their national champion trophy.

"We know that they are bigger and stronger than us. They are also highly appreciated in technique, but we still believe we can win," said goalkeeper Duong Hong Son, who will return after being absent from some matches.

Midfielder Pham Thanh Luong agreed: "We have time to prepare for this match and with our high performance we are really confident."

Speaking at a press briefing on August 18, coach Phan Thanh Hung said he respected his opponent's team, but still hoped for a win on home turf.

"Arbil are a strong team in Asia with a long history in football. They have good physical bodies, with typical playing tactics. But I set a target of a win because if we can not win at home, then the second leg match on their field will be very difficult," Hung said.

On the visiting field, coach Ayob Od Barcham also thought of bringing three points home.

He said although some of his players, including a newly signed striker from Olympiakos, can not come to Vietnam, his current team will trounce the hosts.

Barcham said the delay of the national champions of Iraq did not really affect his team's training. Meanwhile, he has carefully watched all players of T&T and knew their strengths and weaknesses.

Before the delay, Arbil were in second place in the national ranking, with 42 points after 21 rounds.

Their best AFC Cup results was winning the silver medal in 2012 and reaching the semi-finals in 2011.

The winner of this match will face with the winner of the match between Vissai Ninh Binh, another Vietnamese representative, and Hong Kong's Kitchee FC in the semi-finals.

The Ninh Binh vs Kitchee match will be played earlier at Ninh Binh Stadium.

The host, who had to borrow and sign short-term contracts with many players for this match, will compete against three-time champions of Hong Kong, who played French giant Paris Saint-Germain in a friendly match in July.

After the match-fixing scandal in April, Ninh Binh did not have enough players, but after nearly three months of preparation, they are now ready for the crucial competition.

Goalie Tran Buu Ngoc from Dong Thap and three young players from Song Lam Nghe An are the latest comers. They join with foreign players who came back from loan-contracts after the V-League finished.

Despite many challenges, coach Nguyen Van Sy confirmed that his team would secure a semi-final berth.

"We studied them and found that they are at the same level. We have faced many difficulties and now it is time for us to show our ability. One thing to be sure is we will play at the highest level to enter the next round," Sy said.

Their match will be aired live on Fox Sport 2 channel.

The second leg match of the quarter-finals will be held on August 26.-VNA
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