HA NOI (VNS) - Viet Nam made a perfect start at the Asian Football Confederation Futsal Championship on February 11 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, despite facing some challenge.
|Vietnamese players celebrate after scoring a goal during their Group C clash against Chinese Taipei.. Viet Nam won 5-4. - Photo bongdaplus.vn
They came from behind to defeat Chinese Taipei 5-4 in the opening match of Group C, sharing the top position with title favourites Thailand who beat Tajikistan with the same score in a later match.
Chinese Taipei's Lin Chih-hung opened the score within five minutes, before a penalty by Captain Nguyen Bao Quan and Phung Trong Luan's goal saw the Vietnamese take a 2-1 lead into the interval.
Coach Chen Yung-Sheng's side drew level, with Chi Sheng-Fa scoring five minutes after the match restarted, but Le Quoc Nam and Tran Long Vu then scored two goals for Viet Nam.
Lin's second goal, which came soon, kept the game on a knife edge, but Ngo Ngoc Son scored the decisive goal at the Universal Stadium five minutes before the match ended, helping Viet Nam to win despite Huang Po Chun's late goal.
"We are very happy with the victory because the first game is usually very difficult and it was hard to play against a counter-attacking team," Viet Nam's coach Bruno Formoso said on the tournament's official website the-afc.com.
"We had the advantage as we had 48 shots on goal. We were 4-2 and 5-3 up, but they scored one lucky goal and another after a mistake.
"We needed to keep calm after they scored, and we can now use this game to learn and improve," he said.
Chinese Taipei moved ahead in the fourth minute, when Lin's powerful strike from the right flew past goalkeeper Nguyen Van Huy.
But less than a minute later, Viet Nam were awarded a penalty when Fu Li-Wei upended Son in the box and skipper Quan converted the ensuing spot-kick.
Formoso's team then moved ahead in six minutes, after Luan held off the Chinese Taipei defence and scored his goal.
Viet Nam started better in the second half, with both Vu and Luan drawing saves from custodian Fu as Chinese Taipei struggled to keep hold of the ball.
But after Chi twice saw on-target efforts deflected over the crossbar, he acrobatically steered the ball into the net from close in to level the score after Viet Nam failed to clear a corner from the left.
The Vietnamese players regained their advantage in the 28th minute, though, when Duong Anh Tung slipped in Nam, who coolly curled into the bottom right corner from the right side of the penalty area.
As Chinese Taipei chased the game by playing with five outfield players, Viet Nam opened up a two-goal lead in the middle of the second-half, when Quan played in Vu to tap into an empty net.
But a minute later, Chen's team regained their hope when Lin notched his double on the turn before Tung squared for Son to tap home four minutes before the end of the match.
The scoring was not over yet, though, as Shih Wei played the ball back for Huang to confidently dispatch past Van Huy to ensure an exciting climax.
"I think the first penalty that was given was crucial. If that had not happened, we could have controlled the game," Chinese Taipei Coach Chen was quoted as saying.
"Our number five also got injured during a power play, and so we had to change our strategy. If he could have played in the last 10 minutes, we could have won.
"But I'm satisfied with my boys' overall performance," Chen said.
Viet Nam will next meet Tajikistan on February 13, with the team set for another win prior to the tournament.
In another match, second-half goals from Jarrod Basger and Gregory Giovenali proved to be the clinchers, as Australia grabbed a 2-1 win over Malaysia in Group D.
Meanwhile, Japan had a successful start to defending their crown after Tomoaki Watanbe's solitary strike brought his side a 1-0 victory over Qatar.
In the second group-round matches on February 12, hosts Uzbekistan are against Central Asian rivals Kyrgyzstan in Group A. Also at Uzbekistan Stadium, Lebanon will play debutants Saudi Arabia.
In Group B, 10-time champions Iran will face China, while the other clash is between Iraq and Jordan. - VNS