Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam have secured a berth in the quarter-finals of the Asian Football Confederation U19 Championship in Bahrain.
The ‘underdogs’ tied powerhouse Iraq in a goalless match on October 20 to rank second in Group B with five points, securing the group’s remaining ticket to the knock-out stage.
Iraq are placed on top of the group with seven points.
"I’m very, very proud of our players today. We have written a new chapter in Vietnamese football history,” coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn said at the post-match briefing in Manama City.
The West Asian side, who had already got through to the last-eight round, had better opportunities at the Bahrain National Stadium but could not find the net in regulation time.
While Iraq were already assured of a place in the quarter-finals, Việt Nam went into the game knowing that a draw would be sufficient to progress to the next stage.
The Iraq side had several opportunities in the first half, but their players, including Sajjad Hussein, Jalal and Ayad Kareem, failed to convert them to goals.
The second half began much the way as the first had, as Jalal and Jasim Mohammed tried to test Vietnamese goalkeeper Bùi Tiến Dũng’s skills.
Tried as they might, Iraq just could not find a way past the scrappy defence of the Southeast Asian side that finally bagged the point they wanted.
As leader of the defence, substitute captain Hồ Tấn Tài was voted the most valuable player.
"We came out looking for the draw, yes, because we knew that it would be enough to take us through. A 0-0 result against a team with better tactics, technique and stamina makes me proud," coach Tuấn said.
Despite a draw, manager Abbas Atiyah of Iraq thanked his team for their performance in a match they played with nine substitutes, who got an opportunity to experience the tournament’s atmosphere. It was necessary for them to have a high level of stamina so they could be ready for upcoming matches.
"We didn’t have enough training camp time before the tournament, 10 days is not enough when many aren’t even playing for their clubs. But now we have improved. I am happy with the draw and the way the team played today," Atiyah was quoted as saying on the-afc.com.
In the quarter-final, Việt Nam will play hosts Bahrain who topped Group A, while Iraq will face Saudi Arabia on October 23 at the Bahrain National Stadium in Manama City. — VNS