AFC Futsal: Vietnam grasp quarterfinal place
Vietnam came from behind to beat hosts Chinese Taipei 3-1 for a berth in the quarter-finals of the Asian Football Confederation Futsal Championship on February 5th.
Vietnam beat hosts Chinese Taipei 3-1 for a berth in the quarter-finals of the AFC Futsal Championship on February 5th. (Photo: AFC)
With two wins and one loss, the 2016 World Cup participants clinched a top spot in Group A.
It was a remarkable success for the Vietnamese squad who received an order of “must win” ahead of the decisive game.
The team suffered an unexpected 1-2 loss to Malaysia in the group opener in the last two seconds.
They, therefore, must win the last two matches to make sure they qualify for the next stage.
On February 3rd, Vietnam beat Bahrain 2-1, completing half of their task.
The match saw both sides playing in high tempo because they had a chance to advance, but the Vietnamese side showed a little domination in term of possession.
However, their determination was shattered when Chinese Taipei’s Huang Po Chun opened the score from a counter-attack just 40 seconds before the interval.
Huang found the net with a long-range strike from a corner kick. Goalkeeper Ngo Dinh Thuan tried his best but failed to save his side.
The back-and-forth encounter continued in the second half, but Vietnam did a better job. Their eagerness and persistence paid off with Vu Duc Tung’s twist and turn kick into the high far corner of goalie Chiang Hsin Wei at the 29th minute.
Earlier his teammates, Pham Duc Hoa and Vu Quoc Hung, also tested Chiang’s skills with their close-range finishes.
Hoa later succeeded with his next attempt when he latched on to a back pass and made a straight shot to double the result.
Vietnam (in red) make it through to the quarterfinals following two wins and one loss in the group stage. (Photo: NDO)
The hosts tried to level the score with the power play tactics, but the Vietnamese successfully blocked all of their attacks. They took a chance seeing Chinese Taipei’s lack of defence to make it 3-1 after forward Nguyen Dac Huy fired into an unguarded goalmouth at the last minute.
“I want to commend Chinese Taipei and coach Adil Amarante, well done! This experience is going to be good for them as they don’t even have a professional league. They have greatly improved since 2017 Asian Indoor Games,” said coach Miguel Rodrigo of Vietnam on the afc.com.
“In the first half, we played really tense and compact, and never found a way to break their defence. I couldn’t even recognise my team, and during the half-time break, I told them it’s time to play and die for young country and their attitude changed. Little by little, we found our rhythm and finally scored the first goal.
“After the first goal, we got better. Unfortunately, our captain was injured. We will first rest, physically and mentally. We spent a lot of resources tonight. Now is the time to keep the right mentality and play the right way.”
Vietnam will face Group B runners-up Uzbekistan on February 8th in the last-eight round.
“Uzbekistan is one of the best, the favourites for sure but we are warriors, and we will play with the Vietnamese spirit,” Rodrigo said.
On the other side, Chinese Taipei coach Jose Adil Amarante said “I can’t say I’m satisfied with the result, but I’m really proud of my team. With the little time we had to prepare for this tournament, I couldn’t be more proud and happy to see their performance.”
In another match of the group, an extraordinary last-gasp goal from captaion Mohamed Al Sandi helped Bahrain secure a historic AFC Futsal Championship quarter-final place after they defeated Malaysia 3-1 to take the runners-up place on goal differences./.