Group C: Vietnam 2-1 Tajikistan
Tabriz: Vietnam bounced back from a goal down to beat Tajikistan 2-1 on Saturday, and subsequently book their place in the AFC U-20 Futsal Championship IR Iran 2019 quarter-finals.
Vietnam kicked off their campaign on an attacking foot, piling on the pressure but failed to make early inroads.
Tajikistan, who lost 3-1 to Japan in their opener on Friday, managed to cope with the early pressure as they looked to keep their hopes alive.
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Tajikistan’s resilience in defending paid off in the 11th minute when a counter-attack saw Idris Yorov receiving a pass on the far right, and the forward broke the deadlock from a tight angle as he beat Nhan Gia Hung and ‘keeper Nguyen Tang Dinh from outside the box.
Vietnam, however, produced a wonderful goal of their own two minutes later, when Trieu Xuan Linh was left alone near the goalmouth and he volleyed home Lam Trung Thuan’s perfect cross to draw the Southeast Asians level.
The Southeast Asians then took the lead in the 16th minute through Ha Duc Ngoc strike from near the half-line mark.
Vietnam had the advantage, but the match was locked as both sides lacked the finishing move in the final third.
In the 26th minute, Gia Hung could have, and should have, scored in a one-on-one encounter with Tajikistan custodian Bahromkhoja Sodiqkhojaev, but the ‘keeper anticipated his chipped effort and sent the ball out of bounds to maintain the scoreline.
Yorov displayed some individual brilliance at the half-hour mark when he outmaneuvered both Nguyen Minh Duc and Trung Thuan, but his subsequent effort only forced a parry out of Tang Dinh, who was on top of his game.
Tajikistan were now commanding the pace of the match as they held possession, but Vietnam were impressive in dealing with the Central Asian pressure, and defended resolutely to seal the win and a place in the knockout stage.
The result marks the end of Tajikistan’s journey in Tabriz, after suffering consecutive defeats in Group C, while Vietnam will play Japan to determine the group winners.
*Truong Quoc Tuan: Vietnam head coach
*“A wonderful game for Vietnam. As I said yesterday, more than half of the team are only 17 and 18-years-old, and have never played in a Continental tournament. We came here with the aim to gain as much experiences for our players, every single game here is a very good lesson. After watching yesterday’s game, Japan are definitely favourites to win, but we don’t care so much about that, and think it’s a 50-50 game. We are ready.”
*Eradzh Nasikhov: Tajikistan head coach
*“This was a good game. Our players did well, but unfortunately we didn’t fully utilise our attempts, and that’s why we lost. It was our decision to not opt for power play, because we wanted to score without it. There are many factors to our loss today, one of it was because we just played yesterday against one of the strongest teams in Asia, Japan. So maybe our players were tired. In a game like futsal, if you don’t utilise your opportunities, and don’t score, you lose.”
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