KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Lebanese club Al Ahed lifted the AFC Cup on Monday after a dominant 1-0 performance over 10-men 4.25 SC from North Korea, during a charged final that had been moved twice from its original Pyongyang venue.
The decider of the second-tier Asian competition was moved to Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 25, just days after it was changed to Shanghai, China due to international sanctions affecting North Korea.
4.25 SC’s goalkeeper An Tae Song was sent off in the 26th minute after appearing to trip up Ahmad Zreik on the edge of the penalty box, as the Lebanese player sprinted towards the goal.
A motivated Al Ahed quickly took control of the match but were unable to capitalise on several chances in the first hour, including just before halftime when Ahmed Akaichi sent the ball sailing over the crossbar from close range.
Al Ahed finally secured their victory with a sharp header into the back of the net by Issah Yakubu in the 74th minute.
With the win, Al Ahed became the first Lebanese club to lift the trophy in the tournament that has been dominated by West Asian teams since it began in 2004. Iraq’s Air Force Club won the previous three editions.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) had said the decision to move the final from Pyongyang was taken to ensure the game could be broadcast throughout Asia and the Middle East.
Last month, North and South Korea played a World Cup qualifier to empty stands after Pyongyang refused to broadcast the game live and barred fans and the media from attending. The match ended in a goalless draw. (Reporting by Rozanna Latiff Editing by Christian Radnedge)