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Group C: Japan 2-1 Vietnam

Tabriz: Japan advanced to the knockout stage of the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 with a perfect record after defeating Vietnam 2-1 in Group C action on Sunday.

Japan, who defeated Tajikistan 3-1 in their opening match, will play Group D runners-up Iraq in the quarter-finals, while Vietnam will face Indonesia.

Despite having sealed their places in the quarter-finals, both teams began brightly as they went in search of an early goal.

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Japan exerted the early pressure which kept the Vietnamese in their own half, but it was the Southeast Asians who had the first attempt of the game with Nguyen Huynh Thanh Huy forcing ‘keeper Tabuchi Hiroshi into action inside the first minute.

While Japan held the lion’s share of possession, most of their chances came from set-pieces which were hardly on target. Occasionally, Vietnam would surge forward but Japan were quick to cut them off.

Japan, however, were surprised by An Lam Toi’s attempt from the half-line mark, which found the back of the net in the 14th minute.

Vietnam’s lead, however, lasted less than a minute, as Yamada Kaito let loose a strike from distance that caught the Southeast Asians by surprise this time.

Japan took the lead in the 18th minute as Motoishi Takehiro drilled a grounder into the bottom left corner of the net.

Truong Quoc Tuan’s side were more adventurous in the second half and in the 24th minute, Nhan Giu Hung intercepted Osaw Masashi’s pass in front of the box, leaving him with only Hiroshi to beat but his shot smacked the post.

However, the equaliser was not to come as Japan maintained disciplined to finish as Group C winners.

Ryuji Suzuki: Japan head coach

“I’m so happy to have won such a tough game. In the second period, Vietnam was a good team, so it was really hard. I am satisfied with the players because Vietnam was more offensive in the second half, and our players played defensively well to not concede a goal. In the last competition, we lost to Iraq, so this is a good opportunity for us to get revenge. We will do our best tomorrow.”

Truong Quoc Tuan: Vietnam head coach

“Even though we lost, I see progress with every game. Japan is one of the best in Asia, but we faced them equally, which shows the progress of our players. After half-time, we were down by one goal, we tried to play better in the second half, but missed a lot of chances, that is our weakness in this match. We are preparing for the quarter-finals now, but I consider every game as an opportunity to improve ourselves. We played Indonesia in the ASEAN Qualifiers, where we drew. Indonesia is good with quality players, who are fast. It will be a big and difficult team for Vietnam."

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