|Slide tackle: Defender Nguyen Xuan Kien of Viet Nam (right) tackles Jacon Italiano of Australia during their AFC U16 Championship qualification. Australian won 1-0. — Photo vff.org.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Uong Ngoc Tien of Viet Nam missed a penalty, wasting a chance for his team to automatically advance to the final round of the Asian Football Confederation U16 Championship next year.
This followed, as Viet Nam lost 0-1 to Australia in the last Group J match of the qualification in Ha Noi yesterday.
Further, Tien failed to convert his shot into a goal after a powerful kick struck goalkeeper's Jacob Botic cross bar at the 61st minute.
Earlier, defender Mersim Memeti opened the scoring at the 30th mark of the first half, after the visitors set up their domination, displaying better form and stronger physiques.
The Joeys then successfully defended their goal, despite threatening attempts of the hosts in the final 20 minutes.
Australia's impressive campaign brought them the only ticket for the group winner to the finals.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, coach Dinh The Nam of Viet Nam spoke of his regret about the loss.
"Viet Nam was as strong as Australia in this match. We created many chances, but could not convert them to goals. It is football, so when we cannot score, we lose," said Nam.
The coach, however, said he was satisfied with how his players performed.
"My players strictly followed my tactics, but they still had a disadvantage due to their nervousness and physiques, which must be improved if we are to enter the finals. They need more training and competition in the future," he said.
Meanwhile, coach Antony Vidmar of the Australian side said his team played well.
The players controlled more of the ball throughout the entire match, but they also suffered problems from being mentally fatigued, he added.
Meanwhile, Myanmar finished their qualifiers in style, as Eric Williams' charges thrashed rock bottom Guam 10-0 to finish third.
Despite previous defeats to Australia and Viet Nam, ensuring they could not qualify for next year's continental gathering in India, Myanmar ran out comfortable winners courtesy of a four-goal haul from striker Kyaw Kyaw Htet, as well as Htun Sai's hat trick and further strikes from Bo Bo Aung, Thet Paing Htoo and substitute Hein Htet Aung.
The result saw Myanmar finish third in the group, ahead of Guam, who failed to garner a point.
Eleven group winners and four best second-place teams will come together in India for next year's finals, with the tournament hosts receiving an automatic qualification.
Should India finish on top of their qualifying group, or among the four best second-placed teams, the fifth best second-placed nation will qualify for the final competition.
Viet Nam still has to wait until all matches of the qualifier have been completed to learn if they are among the best four second-place squads. — VNS