Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s U19 team lost to Japan 3-0 in the AFC U19 Championship Bahrain 2016 semi-final match at the Bahrain National Stadium on Thursday.
In the other semi-final, Saudi Arabia defeated Iran 6-5.
Japan will meet Saudi Arabia in the final on October 30. Việt Nam and Iran are in third place at the tournament.
Japan dominated the match since the first minutes of the match. Takeru Kishimoto opened the score for Japan with a free kick from the right in the sixth minute.
Six minutes later, the score was 2-0 as another free kick troubled the Việt Nam defence once again.
Ryo Hatsuse elected to shoot on goal and Việt Nam goalkeeper Bùi Tiến Dũng was equal to it, leaping to his right to block the shot but Kishimoto turned provider this time round, scuffing the rebound across the face of the goalpost for Shunta Nakamura to hook it into an empty net.
After the break, Việt Nam made every effort to narrow the gap. However, the goal of Nakamura in the 51st minute snuffed out all hope for Việt Nam.
Following the match, Việt Nam coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn explained that his team were forced into a damage limitation exercise after conceding two early goals.
“At the end of the day, the strong team beat the weak team,” Hoàng said on the website the-afc.com. “I told my players before the game that Japan are very strong and we saw that in both their attack and defence today.
“Our players tried very hard, but they were tired, both mentally and physically. Against a strong team like Japan, you cannot be less than 100 per cent.
“Down two goals, it was game over. Sometimes football is like that. In my mind, we were just trying to keep the scoreline down.
“Today’s game showed us the gulf in quality. We look towards next year and the U20 World Cup; there are many things to improve on, and I can list them, but we need time.”
In the match against Việt Nam, Japanese coach Atsushi Uchiyama made 10 changes from the side that beat Tajikistan 4-0 in the quarter-finals, with the only player to return, Mizuki Ichimaru, donning the captain’s armband.
“I chose 23 players to play in this tournament,” Uchiyama was quoted as saying on the website the-afc.com. “So today by changing my lineup, I wanted to give a chance to some players who haven’t had a chance to play.
“Although we might have different players out there today, the basic style of football is the same and I was confident my players could play the way I wanted them to.
“I think we played well throughout the game, had good balance and it was nice to score a few goals from set pieces in the first half, which really helped us get on a bit.”
“I don’t really think about history too much,” Uchiyama added. “For the players, this is their first time in the final so the past is the past.
“We have been playing good football throughout the tournament, but Saudi Arabia has also been successful in getting to the final. It won’t be easy but we’ll try our best."
By reaching this tournament’s semi-final round, four teams -- Saudi Arabia, Việt Nam, Iran and Japan -- have qualified for the FIFA U20 World Cup 2017 in South Korea. They will join hosts South Korea to make up Asia’s five representatives at the tournament. — VNS