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Group B: Thai Son Nam advance with last gasp win

Yogyakarta: Thai Son Nam advanced to the Knockout Stage of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Indonesia 2018 after defeating Al Dhafra 4-3 to seal second spot in Group B on Sunday.

Al Nafit topped the group with seven points after defeating Jeonju MAG 6-1 in another tie, while Al Dhafra finished third with four points, two less than Thai Son Nam.

Thai Son Nam will face the winners of Group A, while Al Nafit will take on the runners-up.

It was a high-intensity game from the first blow of the whistle as both teams came racing out of the blocks in the first half, trying to stamp their authority.

Thai Son Nam’s Ton That Phi found himself some space in the middle two minutes in and fired a long-range effort but it was parried to safety by Al Dhafra goalkeeper Hassan Ali Alhantoobi.

Al Dhafra had a chance to get in front a minute later when Mohammad Obaid Mohammad raced on the right with only the keeper to beat but his shot found its way straight to the advancing Ho Van Y.

Thai Son Nam finally broke the deadlock in the ninth minute when Nguyen Minh Tri fired a vicious left-footed free- kick which found its way into the back of the net.

Nguyen could have doubled his tally seconds later but he fumbled his effort from close range giving the opportunity for Alhantoobi to recover it safely.

Al Dhafra came close in the 12th minute when Hamdan Abdulla Alkatheeri connected from Williams Oliveira Do Nascimento’s cross from the right but Ho showed cat-like reflexes to keep the Emiratis at bay.

The UAE club’s best chance came from a set-piece three minutes later when Nascimento’s free-kick crashed against the bar, much to the dismay of the Al Dhafra bench.

Thai Son Nam, however, doubled their advantage in the 19th minute after a slick counter-attacking move saw Abdulrahman T F S S Altawail run down the left flank to side-step Mohamed Abdulla Fadaaq and with the goalkeeper beaten, he teed-up Chau Doan Phat nicely who tucked in the second goal.

Al Dhafra came back fighting, putting their Vietnamese opponents under pressure in the second half as they pinned Thai Son Nam in their own half.

Nascimento was at the end of things when he fired two-long range efforts inside the first three minutes but Ho was at his best.

Al Dhafra’s plan worked as they scored two quick goals through Abdul Karim Jamil in the 31st minute when he deflected Sabry Jamil Hezam’s volley from the right and Mohammad Obaid scored the equaliser in the 33rd minute after a pouncing on a loose ball from Nascimento’s strike.

Thai Son Nam, however, made it 3-2 in the 36th minute after Nguyen volleyed home his effort from close range but Al Dhafra countered a minute later and equalised through Nascimento in the 37th minute.

Thai Son Nam saved the best for last as they scored the winner in the 40th minute through Altawail when they activated the power play to stage a dramatic comeback.

Miguel Rodrigo's charges will take on Group A winners and three-time champions Nagoya Oceans in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.

Photos: AFC

Al Dhafra Head Coach Luis Fonseca Cilleros:
"I'm very disappointed by the way we lost the match. It's the worst possible way to lose. Overall, we were the better team and I'm proud of my players. We fought very hard to win the match but this is futsal. Sometimes it's hard and congrats to the other team."

Thai Son Nam Head Coach Miguel Rodrigo:
"It was like a final for them (Al Dhafra) and for Thai Son Nam. I felt we played well in the first half but in the second we couldn't play as Al Dhafra played a high pressing game and we couldn't keep the ball, even three four or passes were impossible. They commanded the second half and decided to settle for a draw but the last ten seconds was heartbreaking as we came out on top with the winner and now we are in the quarter-finals. All the fans on TV and spectators here must've enjoyed watching the game because it was a very good futsal match."