Thai Son Nam come from behind to book semis spot
Yogyakarta: Thai Son Nam twice came back from a goal down to beat Nagoya Oceans 3-2 in extra time to secure a spot in the semi-finals of the AFC Futsal Club Championship Indonesia 2018 on Wednesday.
Coming in as Group A winners, Nagoya had a record of only having conceded one goal in three group stage games, but the Vietnamese champions proved to be their toughest challenge yet.
Three-time champions Nagoya, played with aggression and moved fluidly but it was Neto Antonio Hirata who was a thorn for Thai Son Nam.
In the sixth minute, he dribbled past two Thai Son Nam defenders on the left before sending the ball to an unmarked Ryohei Ando at the penalty mark, who then made no mistake to hit home.
Credit, however, was due to Miguel Rodrigo’s charges as they quickly adapted and performed well despite Nagoya’s pressure.
Their persistence paid off three minutes from the half-time whistle when a counter-attack saw Tran Van Vu surge down the right flank before passing the ball to Nguyen Minh Tri to hit home and draw level.
However, it was Nagoya who had the final say in the first half when Ando let loose a crackling left-footed strike aimed at Ryosuke Nishitani, who lost his marker and simply redirected the shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
Thai Son Nam have finished third in the tournament twice - in 2015 and 2017 - and their determination to make the final was clearly shown when they returned in the second half.
Less than a minute in, Minh Tri released an unstoppable strike from 15 metres out to score his second and equalise for Thai Son Nam once again.
The game then saw both sides attacking with Thai Son Nam goalkeeper Ho Van Y saving his side time and again, forcing extra time.
In the 42nd minute, Thai Son Nam had accrued five fouls but that didn’t stop or change their playstyle as they became more spirited. The same rang true for Nagoya after picking up their fifth foul in the 47th minute.
Thai Son Nam had been in this position just two days before in their final Group B match, where they overcame Al Dhafra in the final minute to seal the win.
Similarly against Nagoya, it was ‘keeper Van Y who broke the deadlock in the 49th minute when Nagoya’s power play backfired and he shot the ball into an unguarded goalmouth to seal a semi-final tie against Lebanon’s Bank of Beirut on Friday.
Thai Son Nam Head Coach Miguel Rodrigo:
"The first half was 100% to Nagoya's favour, I couldn't recognise my team on the pitch. Maybe it's because we played really tense and it made me realise that my team really have to play calmly and show their full potential. By half-time it was 2-1, but they deserved to have scored more goals. In the second half, everything changed. We spoke in the locker room about tactics but also about mental control. We then played fantastic futsal, and in the extra time, we played fantastic. Overall, we deserve to win."
Nagoya Oceans Head Coach Pedro Costa:
"What can I say, but that we are very sad. We don't deserve this result. We worked from the first till the last minute. We tried to do power play because we didn't want to go to penalty kicks, and they defended well and scored a goal. It's my mistake, not my players. I am very proud of them because they worked a lot in every game with their best. I'm very sad with the result but proud of my team."