|Coach Chu Dinh Nghiem of Hanoi FC (second, right) shakes hand with Hojageldiyev Yazguly of Altyn Asyr at the press briefing ahead of their AFC Cup Inter-Zone semi-final’s first leg in Hanoi (Photo: vietnamnet.vn)
But they will still be doing all they can to become the first Vietnamese side to reach the Inter-Zone Final.
In the past month, key scorer Ganiyu Oseni got injured and will be out for the season after surgery on his leg, defender Doan Van Hau suffered a knee injury last week and will be out for six weeks, defender Do Duy Manh was hospitalised because of high temperature and he has not recovered, captain Nguyen Van Quyet and defender Tran Van Kien have light pains while midfielders Dau Van Toan and Dinh Tien Thanh both have problems too.
“We have a big problem. We have no midfielder available for this match at all,” said Hanoi FC’s coach Chu Dinh Nghiem at the press briefing on August 19.
“I asked defender Manh and he said he would try to play. I have to watch him (until tomorrow) but actually he would be in the first team as I have no one else. Thanh can be his substitute if he could not cover all 90 minutes,” said Nghiem.
Nghiem also revealed Hanoi’s coaching team has watched Turkmenistan Altyn Asyr carefully and know their playing style.
"Altyn Asyr have tall and big players who are really strong. Then we will play short balls and try not to vie against them in term of physique."
He said Hanoi want to make history for Vietnam football. With the current personnel the team must try hard and still go for a win.
On the other side, coach Hojageldiyev Yazguly was confident although he admitted his team lacked information about Hanoi.
Yazguly said at this round both two sides were really strong and the match would be very attractive.
The 42-year-old also spent time to watch Hanoi’s matches and has been impressed with captain Quyet. He said Hanoi were good at home but Altyn Asyr have prepared well for the match and were confident of a positive result to take into the second leg.
Prior to the tournament, Vietnam champions Hanoi’s best result was in the knockout stage in 2014 while Turkmenistan league winners Altyn Asyr lost out to Air Force Club of Iraq in the 2018 final.