Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam have qualified for the Asian Women’s Football Championship after topping the Group D standings in the qualification round.
The team defeated arch-rivals Myanmar 2-0 yesterday in the final round to grab the only ticket to the competition, which will be organised in Jordan next year.
Prior to the game, leader Việt Nam needed only a draw to advance to the finals, while it was a must-win match for Myanmar.
Considering the importance of the match, both sides used the first half to test each other.
Myanmar who are known for their strong physique tried to dominate their hosts, who stuck to counter-attacking.
Both sides created several chances but none could convert them to make the opening goal in the first half.
In the second half, coach Mai Đức Chung of Việt Nam changed the tactic to make his team attack more. His players created consecutive attempts.
Finally, corner-kick expert Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung opened the account for Việt Nam 10 minutes after the interval.
The striker, who scored goals from two corner kicks in a match last year, broke into Myanmar’s area. She left two defenders behind before sending a ball into the net.
The opener was a strong push for the hosts who then tore Myanmar’s defence into pieces. However, their threatening shootouts were not sharp enough to beat goalkeeper Mya Phu Ngon.
It was not until the 82nd minute that the national Golden Ball winner Huỳnh Như made it 2-0 from a close-range tap-in.
Earlier, Như was given a penalty after goalie Ngon illegally stopped Dung in her penalty area. But Như, who has scored three goals in this tournament, kicked the ball over the bar.
It was the sixth time the two teams met each other.
Việt Nam have won four and drew one.
"We have nothing to say now better than the word ’happy’," said coach Chung at the post-match briefing.
"We are happy and satisfied because we have completed our duty perfectly. We will prepare for the finals with confidence. We have time to improve our weaknesses and get better," he said.
The coach who missed his World Cup ticket two years ago added that the whole team was always dreaming of the Cup, even though there was a big gap between Việt Nam and the top international teams. He said Việt Nam must try much harder to narrow the gap.
On the other side, coach Roger Reijners of Myanmar congratulated the hosts. He said his players performed well in the first half but made mistakes in the second, leading to the defeat.
In an earlier match, Iran beat Syria 12-0 to take the third spot.
Việt Nam led the group with four wins, scoring 27 goals and suffered only one goal loss.
The Asian championship will be organised in the middle of April next year. The top five teams will qualify for the 2019 World Cup in France. — VNS