November 7 – The twice-shifted AFC Cup final saw an historic first win of an AFC club competition by a Lebanese club. Al Ahed defeated North Korea’s 4.25 SC 1-0 at the Kuala Lumpur Stadium in Malaysia.
The game was originally scheduled for Pyongyang in North Korea but following the
the World Cup qualifier between the North and South – the first competitive match between the neighbour’s men’s teams ever hosted in Pyongyang – and where the North Korean authorities refused entry to home and away fans as well as foreign media any live broadcast, the AFC’s commercial partners advised on a switch of venue.
China offered to host in Shanghai but the short time available to arrange visas saw Malaysia quickly step in to fill the gap.
The match saw the Lebanese dominate from the start with the North Koreans playing the majority of the match with 10 men following goalkeeper An Tae Song’s red card midway through the first half. The North Koreans bravely held out until Issah Yakubu’s header on 74 minutes broke the deadlock.
The AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, congratulated the West Asian winners: “Al Ahed have produced an outstanding campaign from start to finish and the whole Asian football family joins me in congratulating them for creating history with their inaugural title.
“We must also commend 4.25 SC for reaching their first final and for displaying great determination and spirit throughout the competition.”
“The AFC Cup exemplifies our ambitions to provide more opportunities for more Member Associations and clubs to compete in top level competition and I am sure that the performance of both Al Ahed and 4.25 SC will inspire more Member Associations and clubs to raise their ambitions and instil a sense of belief that through hard work and teamwork, anything is possible.
“Congratulations also to the Lebanese Football Association for their remarkable efforts in growing the game and I am confident that this is only the beginning of more success in the future for football in Lebanon.”
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