Group B - MD2: Vietnam 0-3 Korea Republic
Chonburi: Korea Republic defeated Vietnam 3-0 to keep their hopes of an AFC U-16 Women's Championship Thailand 2019 semi-final berth alive on Thursday.
Korea Republic must defeat neighbours DPR Korea in their final Group B match on Sunday to progress.
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Having suffered defeats on the opening matchday to DPR Korea and China PR respectively, Vietnam and Korea Republic rang in the changes in an attempt to keep their semi-final hopes alive with both sides making four changes each.
Korea Republic wasted no time in asserting dominance as the 2009 champions packed the Vietnamese half, and came close to scoring in the second minute when goalkeeper Dao Thi Kieu Oanh punched Choi Min-a’s cross, only for the ball to bounce in the direction of Hwang Ah-yun, but her half-volley missed the left-post by inches.
Defence was the name of the game for Vietnam as they patiently waited to counter-attack, and that window opened in the 10th minute with a glimpse on goal from a corner kick.
The set-piece began with Tran Nhat Lat’s corner, which Bui Thi Thuong then rose highest for the header, only for ‘keeper Hong Ju-yin to pull off a fingertip save.
The Southeast Asians had a disciplined backline, but a failed clearance in the 17th minute proved costly.
Korea Republic’s Gwak Ro-yeong forced a parry out of Thi Kieu Oanh, but captain Vi Thi Hoa gave away the ball cheaply to Hwang, who made no mistake from close range to break the deadlock.
Three minutes later, the Vietnamese could do little against Jang Jin-yeong’s brilliant free-kick which found its way into the top left corner of the net.
The Vietnam skipper did redeem herself by thwarting numerous Korea Republic runs, but her offensive teammates failed to get much done as Hong remained largely untested heading into the break.
Korea Republic’s hold on possession continued in the second half, but Kim Ga-yeon's hard work went to waste as her teammates squandered a number of chances created by her.
Vietnam head coach Nguyen Quoc Binh sent on Dang Thanh Thao, who scored seven goals in Round 1 of the Qualifiers, in the 75th minute and her presence saw the Southeast Asians having more possession in the Korea Republic half.
There would be further drama in the dying moments of the match, as Korea Republic were ensured a satisfying end when Vietnam captain Thi Hoa headed in Gwak’s corner-kick to seal the East Asians a deserved win.
On Sunday, Korea Republic will play defending champions DPR Korea in their final Group B tie - a rematch of the 2017 final - while Vietnam face China PR.
Nguyen Quoc Binh: Vietnam head coach
“In the second half we tried to play less defensive and wanted to play more offensively. We tried our best but we lost.”
In Chang-soo: Korea Republic head coach
“We wanted to start pressing in the first 15 minutes and that worked out well, as the first two goals were scored around then. It’s true we didn’t get more opportunities against Vietnam in the second half, maybe it was because our physical levels dropped but we still managed to control the match the way we wanted.”
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