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Dhaka Abahani take first-leg lead against North Korean April 25 in AFC Cup semis

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Dhaka Abahani have taken a slim first-leg lead in AFC Cup inter-zone play-off semi-finals with a hard-fought 4-3 win over North Korean April 25 at home.

 

The goal fest started in the 33rd minute with Sohel Rana’s blistering drive from outside the box at Bangabandhu National Stadium on Wednesday.

 

But the hosts surrendered the lead after only two minutes when a similar effort by Cha Jong-hyok found the net.

 

Abahani, who are playing in the knockout stage of the tournament for the first time, regained control two minutes later with Mohammad Nabib Newaz Ziban guiding the ball.

 

The tourists equalised in the 55th minute, deadlocking the match once again when captain Ri Chol-min beat goalkeeper Shahidul Alam from a tight angle.

 

Nigerian forward Sunday Chizoba Nwadialu cheered the fans by helping the hosts regain the lead two minutes later with the fifth goal of the match.

 

Abahani gained full control of the match by doubling the lead when Sunday scored his second with the help of Haitian Kervens Fils Belfort in the 61st minute.

 

The North Korean side, 18 times national champions, fought back viciously but could manage only one more goal from a header by Song-rok Pak in the 76th minute.

 

In the added time, Abahani survived a scare when a North Korean effort rattled the bar.

 

Finally the hosts left the pitch with the victory and will meet April 25 in Pyongyang on Aug 28 in the second leg.

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