Vietnam U23 team book ticket to AFC’s quarter finals for the first time

Vietnam U23’s made history as the team sealed a historic place in the AFC U23 Championship quarter finals for the first time.

Vietnam U23’s made history as the team sealed a historic place in the AFC U23 Championship quarter finals for the first time.

Vietnam fought tooth and nail to tie 0-0 with Syria in their last Group D clash late Wednesday and the result was enough for coach Park Hang-seo’s players to earn a berth in the knockout phase, as the Republic of Korea (RoK) beat Australia 3-2 in the other group match the same day, leaving the way for Vietnam to claim second place in Group D with four points after three matches.

Vietnam U23 team book ticket to AFC’s quarter finals for the first time

Vietnam (white shirt) fight against the attacks from a strong Syrian side. (Credit: AFC)

After the two previous matches, Vietnam had three points. In the final group clash, Park Hang-seo’s players encountered Syria, who stood at the bottom of the table with only one point. A win would have opened the door for either Vietnam or Syria to advance to the quarter finals.

The importance of the match put pressure on both sides, forcing them to enter the match at Changsu Stadium with caution. Vietnam started with a 4-5-1 formation, aimed at limiting the superior fitness of the Syrian side.

Syria varied their attacks and soon created two consecutive chances in the 12th and 13th minutes. In the first attack, defender Dinh Trong did well to deny Moumen Naji’s effort, and then, from the resulting corner, Mohamad Arnaout sent a header narrowly wide of the post.

Two minutes later, Vietnam answered with a fine combination between Quang Hai and Cong Phuong. Hai’s pass found Phuong in the box but the latter’s finish cannoned off the post.

Vietnam U23 team book ticket to AFC’s quarter finals for the first time

Vietnam almost took the lead in the 67th minute as Cong Phuong (No. 10)’s shot was saved by Syrian goalkeeper Khaled Ibrahim. (Credit: AFC)

Syria had better possession and created several dangerous attacks in the latter minutes of the first half but they failed to break through Vietnam’s well-organised defensive line.

The second half continued in the same vein as the first 45 minutes. Syrian were dominant in possession but Vietnam replied with dangerous counter-attacks. In the 67th minute, Vietnam almost took the lead as Cong Phuong’s shot in the Syrian box was saved by goalkeeper Khaled Ibrahim.

Syria also came close to the opener eight minutes later, when Ahmad Rafat’ close range shot was blocked by defender Dinh Trong on the goal line.

Vietnam U23 team book ticket to AFC’s quarter finals for the first time

Vietnam survives with a point to advance, while Syria are out after wasting too many opportunities. (Credit: AFC)

The last few minutes saw the Vietnamese defensive line put under increased pressure from repeated Syrian attacks. Shadi Alhamwi headed wide of the post, before Mouhamad Anez wasted two golden chances in the 80th and 90+3rd minutes.

Vietnam’s determined defensive tactics help them to survive. The 0-0 result, coupled with the table-topping RoK’s win over Australia, sent Vietnam to the knock-out phase. In the quarterfinals, Vietnam will play Iraq, the leading team in Group C, next Saturday. The RoK will face Group C’s second placed Malaysia, who stunned Saudi Arabia 1-0 on Tuesday to also seal a historic place in the quarter-finals for the first time./.

Vietnam U23 team book ticket to AFC’s quarter finals for the first time

Under tremendous pressure from Syria, a heroic defensive by Vietnam sends them to the knockout round. (Credit: AFC)

Vietnam U23 team book ticket to AFC’s quarter finals for the first time

Match stats between Vietnam U23 and Syria U23. (Credit: AFC)

Vietnam U23 team book ticket to AFC’s quarter finals for the first time

Group D rankings – AFC U23 Championship 2018.

VNF/NDO

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