|On target: Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong of Viet Nam celebrates after scoring the only goal in a match against Australia at the ASEAN Football U19 Nutifood Cup yesterday in Ha Noi. The win puts Viet Nam at the top of Group B.— VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS)— Top striker and captain Nguyen Cong Phuong scored the only goal in Viet Nam's opening Group B win against Australia at the ASEAN Football Federation's (AFF) Nuti-Food U-19 Cup at My Dinh National Stadium yesterday.
Phuong caused thousands fans to erupt in cheers at the 40,000-seat stadium when he performed a solo break in the 88th minute to pass three Australian defenders before hitting the high corner of the net.
The 19-year-old striker broke the dead-lock of the game that saw strikers of both teams fail to convert opportunities earlier in the second half.
The visiting team launched a furious attack at the kick-off, with Stefan Mauk launching a shot from the corner to Vietnamese goalie Van Truong in the second minute.
The hosts fired back with a 20m shot by midfielder Xuan Truong, which sailed over the bar.
Hong Duy had a clear chance in the 14th minute when he fielded a pass from a teammate to fire a close shot at Australian goalie Anthony Bouzanis.
D'Cunha missed a prime chance when his header skimmed the ball in the 27th minute but was unable to capitalise and sealing a goalless first half.
Tensions were high as Vietnamese striker Phan Van Long missed a clear chance with a rebound in the 72nd minute in the penalty box.
Peter Skapetis returned fire but was unable to convert a cross from the 5m range.
The match appeared to be headed for full time when the two sides slowed down the game in the last minute.
Cong Phuong broke the drought dribbling the ball past the Australian defence and delivering a stunning blow to goalie Anthony Bouzanis.
The win saw Viet Nam jump to an early lead in the table with three points.
Japan, another rival of Viet Nam in the group, will play their first match against Australia tomorrow.
It is the second win against the Australian side, following a 5-1 victory in the qualifying round of the Asian U-19 Championships in Malaysia last year.
In a group A match yesterday, Thailand drew first blood after beating Indonesia 6-2 in the opening match. — VNS