April 25 progress in AFC Cup

The AFC Cup is Asia's continental tournament for the smaller nations and this week April 25 of North Korea qualified for the AFC Cupi Inter-Zone Final. This came as the team fought back from a 4-3 first-leg loss to win 2-0 against Abahani of Bangladesh.

A poor pitch helped the home side 

Had Abahani won the second leg they would have made history as the first-ever Bangladeshi club to book a place in the inter-zone final of the AFC Cup. This was not to be though as two second-half goals from Kim Yu-song won it.

As the away side travelled to Pyongyang with a slight lead, they will be disappointed they could not hold on. A sending off for Mamun Miah did not help as the defender left his side short with them trailing 1-0 at the time.

The home side was helped the Bangladesh side claimed by the artificial pitch surface at the Kim Il Sung Stadium. This was seen at the Portuguese coach Mario Lemos said;

We thought artificial turf would make a little difference for us, but it’s huge. They were faster, played long passes. We could not control them [artificial turf]. We played our best match in Dhaka. 
I feel proud. All players did their best and we reached into the semi-final [Inter-zone]. We did it, though we have injury problems of my key players in the team.

Whatever the excuses it does not matter as April 25 will play in the inter-zone final where they will face Vietnam’s Hanoi FC on the 25th September and the 2nd October. Hanoi FC defeated Altyn Asyr of Turkmenistan in their semi-final.

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