|Close match: Uchida Yuto of Japan (left) vies for a ball against AS Roma's player during their match at the Nutifood Cup, an international under-19 football tournament, in HCM City yesterday. Japan won 1-0 to pocket the triumph trophy. — Photo thethaovanhoa
HA NOI (VNS) — Japan's national under-19 team triumphed in the international youth football tournament, which wrapped up in HCM City yesterday.
The Asian powerhouse defeated AS Roma lads 1-0 in the final round match of the four-side event at the Thong Nhat Stadium.
In the later match, Tottenham Hospur won 3-2 over Vietnamese squad to take second place.
Sekine Takahiro scored the only goal for Japan three minutes after the break.
An AS Roma defender made a mistake when trying to kick the ball away, giving it to Takahiro, who did not miss his chance.
Goalie Lorenzo Zonfrilli touched the ball but failed to save his net.
Alberto De Rossi's team nearly had an equal at the 72nd minute when Adamo Matteo made a narrow shoot from the right wing. But keeper Takagiwa Toru of Japan successfully blocked it.
Rossi made a series of changes with a view to find a draw result, which would help his team win the event.
The newcomers worked hard but they did not find the net. At the 82nd minute Valerio Trani wasted the most threatening opportunity with a kick that went wide by barely a hair's gap.
In the later match, the U19 of the host played as well as the English representatives, with two goals each for both sides until the 70th mark.
Defender Tran Huu Dong Trieu made a goal during a chaotic in the 5m box. His attempt brought the ball in the net in such a close range that goalie Le Van Truong could not react.
With two wins and one loss, three visitors – Japan, AS Roma and Tottenham Hospur – had six points but the Asian squad took the NutiFood Cup, as they had the best goal difference, and walked away with US$100,000 in cash.
Tottenham were second and Roma were third, pocketing $70,000 and $30,000 respectively. Hosts Viet Nam lost all three matches and were at the bottom of the ranking table.
Speaking before the final round, the Viet Nam Football Federation acting chairman Le Hung Dung said this event would be organised annually, with the defending champions invited to take part the next year to prevent their crown from being taken.
Viet Nam and Japan will meet each other again in the final of the Asian Football Confederation's U19 Championship in Myanmar later this year.
Viet Nam will tour Belgium and England for four months to prepare for the continental competition. — VNS