Group B: China PR edge Vietnam to make semis
Chonburi: Shao Ziqin’s second half effort proved to be enough as China PR advanced into the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 semi-finals as Group B runners-up after beating Vietnam 1-0 at the IPE Chonburi Stadium on Sunday.
China will play Group A winners Japan in the semi-finals on Wednesday in a repeat of the 2017 third place play-off tie with a place in the 2020 FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup at stake.
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Vietnam came into the match still with a mathematical chance of the making the semi-finals - needing to win and hoping that DPR Korea would beat Korea Republic in the other Group B tie.
It was a task that became harder when head coach Nguyen Quoc Binh was forced to make an early substitution after Ngo Thi Thu suffered a bad fall, with Nguyen Thuy Linh coming on in the sixth minute.
China had the lion’s share of possession but were unable to create clearcut opportunities while Vietnam were playing their best football of the tournament with their defenders on top of their game.
China had a golden opportunity when Sun Fangxin was fouled near the corner flag in the 45th minute, and Wang Jingyi delivered a brilliant free-kick but captain Wang Siqian failed to keep her header on target.
The stalemate continued way into the second half, with China coming close at the hour mark when Zou Mengyao supplied Wang Huimin at the edge of the box, but before she could lay the finishing touch from point blank range, Vietnam skipper Vu Thi Hoa managed blocked the strike with her foot.
Head coach Chan Yuen Ting revitalised China’s offence with Wang Xinling and Jiang Chenjing coming off the bench in the 66th and 67th minutes respectively, but they too failed to challenge ‘keeper Dao Thi Kieu Oanh.
China’s best attempts had come from set-pieces and they were given another opportunity in the 82nd minute when substitute Thuy Linh fouled Jiang at the top of the box.
It would prove costly for the Vietnamese, as Shao Ziqin rose highest to head home Jingyi’s free-kick to break the deadlock.
With news of DPR Korea defeating 3-0 against Korea Republic at the Chonburi Stadium, China held on to secure the win and seal a seventh appearance in the knockout stage.
Chan Yuen Ting: China PR head coach
“Today was a tough game. It was tough to play on the field today, which was why we couldn’t attack very well. Our girls wanted to score as early as possible which resulted with us playing very hastily and we could play more patiently. We worked hard and we got the three points. Most importantly is that we focus on the next game and prepare for the semi-finals.”
Nguyen Quoc Binh: Vietnam head coach
“In this match today, was really unlucky. They tried their best. Our girls will need more experience by learning from other countries. And this tournament has been a great experience for them. I’m very satisfied with my girls because they have given their best in this tournament.”
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