|Striker Châu Đoàn Phát of Việt Nam and teammates celebrate his goal in the 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic on September 19. AFP/VNA Photo|
KAUNAS - A man of the match performance from goalkeeper Hồ Văn Ý and an effort from striker Châu Đoàn Phát helped Việt Nam clinch a spot in the knock-out stages of the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania.
A hard-fought 1-1 draw in the final group game against the Czech Republic on Sunday was enough to ensure Việt Nam stay in the competition.
This is the second successive World Cup the Golden Warriors have made it past the group stage.
A stellar performance from Ý in goal was key to earning a point after a string of top-draw saves from the Vietnamese number one.
The team in red were always on the back foot, knowing a draw would be enough on the night. Coach Phạm Minh Giang clearly had a defensive game plan.
Ý, also the hero in the 3-2 win over Panama in the last game, managed to keep a clean sheet in the first half.
Skipper Phạm Đức Hòa, Vũ Đức Tùng and Phát, all came close to finding the net in the opening period that that finished 0-0.
After the break, the Czech Republic continued to pepper the Vietnamese goal but Ý was on top form.
It was Việt Nam who drew first blood, when Phát stole the ball from Czech captain Lukas Resetar and slotted home on 35 minutes.
Resetar made amends for his mistake just a minute later, making use of captain Hòa’s error to take the ball and level the score.
The score remained the same as time ticked away, and in the end, the draw was enough for Việt Nam to go through.
“It was a tough match for Việt Nam,” said Ý who was voted man of the match.
“A draw makes me really happy as we enter the last-eight round in my first World Cup,” said Ý who was voted MVP of the match.
Meanwhile coach Giang said he was proud of his players and although they may not be the strongest team in the competition, he believes on their day, they are ready to face up to any team. VNS