Vietnam midfielder's free kick among four historic AFC Cup goals

By Hoang Nguyen   November 18, 2020 | 04:45 am PT
Vietnam midfielder's free kick among four historic AFC Cup goals
Nguyen Quang Hai of Hanoi FC scores from a free kick in the interzone semi-final's first leg of AFC Cup 2019 against Altyn Asyr on August 20, 2019. Photo courtesy of the Asian Football Confederation.
Nguyen Quang Hai’s goal was voted among the top four best AFC Cup goals ever scored.

In the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup Bracket Challenge to find the best goal, 32 nominees were paired, with the winner of each grouping proceeding to the next round based on votes.

In the quarterfinals of the challenge, Hai went up against former Indian defensive midfielder Mehtab Hossain’s cracker for East Bengal in 2013 AFC Cup. He dominated the poll with 80.04 percent of the votes.

Hai’s goal came from a wonderful free kick during the Interzone semi-final first leg of AFC Cup 2019 between Hanoi FC and Turkmenistan side Altyn Asyr. The star midfielder glided the ball into the top left corner from 20 yards, his favorite distance. The goal helped Hanoi FC win 3-2.

"Dead-ball specialist Nguyen Quang Hai was at his best against Turkmenistan's Altyn Asyr, leaving the goalkeeper flat-footed after curling round the wall from 20 yards to tie the score at 1-1," AFC wrote.

To get this far, Vietnamese idol Quang Hai received more votes than 4.25 SC's An Il-bom and FC Istiklol's Manuchehr Dzhalilov in the previous rounds.

In the semifinals, Hai’s goal will face a tricky one by Maldives’ finest player, Ali Ashfaq for New Radiant in 2013 AFC Cup. Previously in the quarterfinals, Ashfaq's goal had beaten a scissor kick by Nguyen Van Quyet, Hai’s teammate at Hanoi FC.

Hai, 23, played a key role in Vietnam's national team, helping them enter the finals of 2018 AFC U23 Championship and win 2018 AFF Cup. At Hanoi FC, Hai contributed greatly to two consecutive V. League 1 title wins in 2018 and 2019.

His was voted the best free-kick goal in AFC Cup history by fans in June.

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