Việt Nam U20s find dramatic win against Qatar to boost qualification hopes

March 05, 2023 - 09:10
Hoàng Anh Tuấn's men went top of Group B with their second win but are not assured of qualification yet due to Iran's 3-2 loss to Australia.
Nguyễn Văn Trường celebrates his last-minute winning goal. — Photo courtesy of AFC

Anh Đức

FERGANA — Việt Nam U20s have gone top of Group B after a late goal from Nguyễn Văn Trường secured a 2-1 win over Qatar in their second match of the AFC U20 Asian Cup on Saturday night.

Hoàng Anh Tuấn's men are not yet assured of qualification due to Iran's 3-2 loss to Australia but are in the driving seat to advance from the group stage.

It was a game of late drama in both halves; Nguyễn Quốc Việt opened the score just before the break and Qatar equalised through a controversial penalty just seven minutes from full-time, before Trường sealed the victory in the 90th minute for Việt Nam.

Qatar have not had a great start to the competition, having lost to Iran by a single goal. Việt Nam, on the contrary, shocked Group B with a 1-0 win against favourites Australia.

Although Qatar did not play well against Iran, Tuấn warned against complacency before the match.

"We have to forget wins against Australia or Saudi Arabia to concentrate on today's match," said the 55-year-old coach.

Needing a win to boost their chance of staying in the competition, Qatar went all-out attack in the first minutes. They could have scored first but captain Mubarak Shanan's header in the 6th minute was stopped in time by Cao Văn Bình.

Just four minutes later, Bình denied a vicious shot from outside the box by Ahmed Al Rawi.

Qatar dominated the first half, holding on to around 68 per cent of possession, and had many dangerous attacks from the wings.

When the clock ticked down towards the interval, many Vietnamese fans thought about a draw in the first half, perhaps breathing a sigh of relief. However, they found themselves in a frenzy in the second minute of injury time.

From a counterattack, Nguyễn Văn Trường pulled off a wonderful lobbed through ball for Nguyễn Quốc Việt, who went through on goal and struck the ball into the back of the net to score his second goal this competition, with the last kick of the half.

After the break, Qatar made two substitutions, but it seemed that the shockwave of Việt's goal still lingered.

Việt Nam created another dangerous counter in the 48th minute. In a 1-on-3 defence attempt, Jassem Al-Sharshani deliberately handled the ball, and seconds later, his teammate brought down Thanh Nhàn inside the box. The referee however, did not blow his whistle in both instances.

Had VAR been present in the competition, Jassem would have been sent off.

Việt Nam were the better team in the second half, as Tuấn's midfielders created more dangerous chances than the opposition.

In the 76th minute, one such opportunity was present for Văn Trường, who unfortunately hit the post.

But the height of the drama came in the final 10 minutes.

From an attack in the right wing, Al Rawi fell down inside Việt Nam's penalty area and referee Akhrol Risqullaev pointed to the spot. Replays however, showed that there was minimal contact from Nguyễn Đức Anh to Al Rawi.

Al Rawi took the penalty he earned and beat Văn Bình to bring Qatar back on level terms.

Việt Nam did not capitulate after the equaliser but pushed forward strongly. In the 90th minute, Nguyễn Đức Phú whipped in a free kick and found Văn Trường, who scored with a backwards header.

Phú's goal, reminiscence of Lê Công Vinh's last-minute winner against Thailand in the 2008 AFF Cup Final, sent the stadium wild.

Việt Nam stayed strong in the final minutes, and the match finished 2-1 for the Young Warriors.

The victory puts Tuấn's team first place in Group B, but with Iran's earlier loss to Australia, all is to play for, and Qatar still cling to a slim chance of qualification.

Việt Nam will qualify if they beat Iran or lose but score more than two goals. Equally, if Qatar beat Australia, then they qualify regardless.

The Young Warriors will face Iran on Tuesday. — VNS