Việt Nam under-23 players line up to celebrate their victory over Myanmar and ensure a place in the finals. — Photo bongdaplus.vn
BISHKEK — Việt Nam’s U23s have qualified for the finals of the AFC Asian Cup after beating Myanmar by a goal to nil.
Myanmar finished the game with 10 men after one of their players was shown the red card for punching his opponent.
Second half substitute Hồ Thanh Minh made an immediate impact after joining the game, nodding home Nguyễn Hai Long’s freekick for the only goal of the game.
It was enough to take the young team to the tournament finals which will be held in Uzbekistan next June.
In a crowdless Dolen Omurzakov Stadium, the Việt Nam national under-23 football team entered its final qualifying match for the AFC U-23 Asian Cup group stage against Myanmar level on points and goal difference with their neighbours.
A draw would be enough for both to qualify for the final tournament, but then a penalty shoot-out would be needed to determine the first-place team.
Although Park Hang-Seo arranged his team in a defensive 3-5-2 formation, it was Việt Nam who had more attacking chances in the first half. But the young strikers could not capitalise and the first half ended goalless.
Coach Park made his first change right at the start of the second half, bringing on 21-year-old striker Hồ Thanh Minh. And it was not long for Minh to make his impact, heading in from a freekick of Nguyễn Hai Long to open the scoring for Việt Nam.
Myanmar pushed forward for the equaliser, but were met with deadly counterattacks from Việt Nam. In the 80th minute, Myanmar’s Aung Wunna Soe lost his cool and punched Lý Công Hoàng Anh in the face. The referee was nearby and gave him a straight red card.
In the 3rd minute of injury time, a foul near the edge of the box by the Vietnamese defence resulted in a dangerous free kick for Myanmar, but the shot was blocked and Việt Nam ended the match with a 1-0 victory to top the group and ensure a place in the finals. — VNS