Group A: Bahrain 1-2 Vietnam
Taipei: Vietnam kept their hopes of qualifying for the AFC Futsal Championship quarter-finals alive after a 2-1 win over Bahrain at the Xinzhuang Stadium on Saturday.
Vietnam had suffered a last second 2-1 defeat to Malaysia on Matchday One, while Bahrain had settled for a 2-2 draw with hosts Chinese Taipei.
Goals from Nguyen Dac Huy and Phung Trong Luan in the first half proved to be enough to secure three points for Vietnam in the Group A tie and a fighting chance to reach the knockout phase.
Vietnam kept to the same intensity displayed in their opening match against Malaysia, knowing defeat meant they had no chance of progressing, and Bahrain used that to their advantage.
When in possession, the West Asians would pull Vietnam into their half before launching long range crosses, hoping to catch their opponents by surprise but Miguel Rodrigo’s charges were quick on their feet and reacted fast to smother the Bahrain plans.
Ali Saleh and captain Mohamed Al Sandi were Bahrain’s dangermen as they had several close attempts on goal which either struck the framework or were pushed away by goalkeeper Ngo Dinh Thuan.
Against the run of play, Dac Huy opened the scoring for Vietnam in the 18th minute, courtesy of Co Tri Kiet’s pass which Dac Huy steered the ball into the bottom right corner.
It didn’t break Bahrain’s spirit and less than 20 seconds after the restart, Mohamed Abdulla’s shot bounced between the two bars but was adjudged to have not crossed the line.
A minute to the break, Trong Luan doubled Vietnam’s advantage from a set-piece with a close range shot which left custodian Sayed Mohamed no chance to react.
Adel Marzooq’s charges returned into the second half more passionate, and reduced the deficit in the 29th minute when Chu Van Tien deflected Al Sandi’s shot into the goalmouth.
In the last four minutes, the tempo of the game increased and Bahrain committed their sixth foul but Pham Duc Hoa’s shot from the second penalty spot was deflected by Sayed Mohamed onto the upright.
Power play was next on the list for Bahrain, with Jassam Saleh as the extra man but the goal continued to elude them.
Bahrain will take on Malaysia, while Vietnam meet host nation Chinese Taipei on Monday.
Adel Marzooq: Bahrain Head Coach
“My team’s performance was definitely better than the first game. We had so many chances but failed to score. Our players lost their concentration for a while because of the goal that was not awarded, which was why we conceded a second. In the second half, our players still couldn’t fully concentrate on the match because we were amounting a few fouls. Our next match against Malaysia is definitely the final. We will give everything we have, and will fight for that three points.”
Miguel Rodrigo: Vietnam Head Coach
“In my eyes, this game was the final, but I think we deserved to win. I believe we played better against Malaysia in our first match, but we played effectively today. We defended well against the powerplay and resisted like warriors. I’m satisfied with my team’s performance because we got the result. In our next match, we are not worried about the home advantage for Chinese Taipei because my players have got some experience on that in the 2017 Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat.”