Group B: Vietnam qualify by the barest margin to deny IR Iran
Hanoi: Vietnam qualified for the AFC U-19 Women's Championship Thailand 2019 Finals despite a 2-1 defeat against Korea Republic, with Islamic Republic of Iran narrowly denied despite their earlier 5-1 win against Lebanon on Tuesday.
KOREA REPUBLIC 2-1 VIETNAM
A late goal from Kim Soo-jin sealed a third successive win for Korea Republic, but it was Vietnam who had cause to celebrate after they sealed qualification for the Finals ahead of Iran by virtue of their lower fair play points.
Kim netted a double for the Koreans in their 2-1 win, but Vietnam's narrow defeat was enough to take them to the Finals by the narrowest margin after they finished level on points, head to head, and goal difference with the Iranians.
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Vietnam entered the match knowing simply avoiding defeat would be enough to seal their place in Thailand 2019, but that was a task easier said than done against a Korea Republic side which had scored 11 unanswered goals in their opening two matches.
The hosts defended strongly in the opening half, and nearly took the reward of a clean sheet to half-time, but their work was undone five minutes before the break when what appeared to be an attempted cross from Korea Republic's Kim bounced over stranded goalkeeper Tran Thi Ngoc Anh and into the net from well over 30 yards.
The crossbar prevented Choo Hyo-joo from firing the Koreans further ahead in the 48th minute, before a goalmouth scramble allowed Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan to provide a Vietnamese lifeline with 20 minutes remaining.
In a chaotic sequence, Korean goalkeeper Kim Min-young spilled a high cross from Vietnam's Truc Huong, before a missed clearance from Hye-jong sent the ball in the direction of Tuyet Ngan, who made no mistake from six yards.
That goal looked to have given Vietnam the draw they needed to reach five points, and qualify directly, but that changed in the 83rd minute, when Kim seized on indecision in the Vietnamese defence to score her second of the match.
With Vietnam's progress on a knife-edge, both teams searched for further goals, but the score remained at 2-1, ultimately allowing the hosts to breathe a sigh of relief after sealing safe passage to the tournament proper.
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF IRAN 5-1 LEBANON
Earlier, Islamic Republic of Iran had kept their hopes of a place in the Finals alive, defeating Lebanon 5-1 in their final Group B match.
Knowing they had to win, and win big, to give themselves a chance of appearing in the Finals for just the second time, Iran made a horror start, falling behind in the opening minute when Farah El Tayar showed searing pace before scoring superbly for already-eliminated Lebanon.
But Iran responded in fine style, equalising with a 35-yard masterpiece from Vida Raietparvar in the 15th minute, before Negin Zandi added a second 17 minutes later to ensure they would go into the interval a goal ahead.
Raietparvar converted a penalty kick two minutes after the restart to extend the lead, before Zandi joined her in completing a brace when she calmly stroked home Iran's fourth for the afternoon at the hour mark.
Iran were producing excellent football, and Seyedeh Zahra Masoumi took them out of sight with a superbly struck fifth goal with 20 minutes remaining, putting the pressure firmly on group hosts Vietnam ahead of their match against already-qualified Korea Republic.
But despite their best efforts, fortune was against Katayoun Khosrowyar's side, with Vietnam's 2-1 defeat against the Koreans enough to leave Iran in third place, and eliminate them from the competition.
Photos: Vietnam Football Federation