Viet Nam lost to arch rivals South Korea 1-2 in the first match of Group D at the finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship held in China yesterday.
Midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai (No 19) celebrates a goal for Viet Nam team in the finals of the AFC U23 Championship held in China yesterday. — Photo the-afc.com
Viet Nam’s head coach Park Hang-seo put forward his best line-up for the game with strikers Ha Duc Chinh and Nguyen Cong Phuong.
South Korea were on the attack from the start of the match. However, Viet Nam took heed of Park’s tactics not to be overcome with the speed of their rival.
In the 17th minute, after receiving a pass from striker Phuong, midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai opened the score for Viet Nam.
Three minutes later the South Koreans threatened to level the score, but Hwang Hyun-soo’s long range free-kick went narrowly wide of Viet Nam’s goal.
In the 30th minute, Cho Young-wook leveled the score following an error by midfielder Tran Dinh Trong.
After the break, Doan Van Hau was given a yellow card after a foul on a South Korean player in the box, giving the opponents a penalty. However, goalie Bui Doan Hung saved the shot for Viet Nam.
After that, South Korea met the difficulties in facing Vietnamese defenders who played with focus and supported each other well.
In the 67th minute, goal keeper Dũng once again saved a crucial shot for Viet Nam. However, just seven minutes later, Lee Keun-ho put his header past Dung to push the score to 2-1.
“It was our first match and it’s always difficult. In the first half we conceded a goal, but if we managed to score twice we were able to win the game. In the next game hopefully we can play well. We conceded an early goal but I didn’t ask my players to hurry. They followed my instructions so it was good for us to not rush and to do our jobs.” said Kim Bong-gil, South Korea’s head coach on the website the-afc.com.
While Viet Nam’s coach Park said: “We scored first but unfortunately we still lost. In all of our defeats we make some mistakes and that’s why we lost the game. But, in general, all of our players played well and they did what I asked them to do. This is the first game for our team and our players were lacking a little bit of confidence and I think they can do better.”
With this loss, Viet Nam are now third in the group. Australia, who beat Syria 3-1, and South Korea top the group with three points apiece.
Viet Nam will next face Australia on January 14 and Syria on January 17.
For the Southeast Asian region, this is the second time Viet Nam and Thailand have competed in the AFC U23 Championship’s final round. — VNS