All eyes on Hai as AFC Champions League playoffs kick off

By Xuan Binh   February 18, 2019 | 11:17 pm PT
All eyes on Hai as AFC Champions League playoffs kick off
Nguyen Quang Hai at AFF Cup 2018, where Vietnam won the title. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Vietnamese defender Nguyen Quang Hai has been named one of players to watch ahead of AFC Champions League playoffs.

Hai’s team Hanoi FC will play against China’s Shandong Luneng in the playoffs of AFC Champions League Tuesday and the organizers have highlighted his talents.

"One of the rising stars of Asian football, Nguyen Quang Hai has excelled at the international level over the past year and was inspirational in helping Vietnam secure their second AFF Cup when they won the 2018 title," AFC writes on its website.

Hai helped Vietnam reached the last eight of Asian Cup earlier this year and will surely light up the AFC Champions League with his talent, it says.

His curving free-kick against Yemen was voted the best goal of the 2019 Asian Cup.

Other notable players on the to-watch list are Graziano Pellè (Shandong Luneng), Sharul Saad (Perak FA) and Patric (Sanfrecce Hiroshima).

Shandong Luneng, Hanoi FC’s opponent this afternoon, have many quality players in their squad, including Italian Graziano Pellè, who scored 16 times last season and helped his team qualify for this tournament. They also have Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who moved to the club from Manchester United in January.

Recently, Nguyen Quang Hai's goal against Yemen was picked by fans as the AFC Asian Cup 2019's goal of the tournament.

In the first qualification round of the ongoing tournament, Hanoi FC beat Bangkok United 1-0 to advance to the next round. The game between Hanoi FC and Shandong Luneng will start at 2:30 p.m. today.

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