Việt Nam out of U20 Asian Cup after unlucky loss to Iran

March 07, 2023 - 20:04
Despite winning their first two games, the Young Warriors' loss meant an early exit for Hoàng Anh Tuấn's men, who lacked just one goal to progress.


Bùi Vĩ Hào (11) and teammates tried their best, but luck was not on their side. — Photo courtesy of AFC

Anh Đức

FERGANA — Việt Nam are out of the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup after losing to Iran in their last Group B game in the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan on Tuesday.

Despite winning their first two games, the young yellow-star warriors' loss meant an early exit for coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn's men, who lacked just one goal to progress.

Tuấn made three changes to the line-up, two of which surprised fans. Nguyễn Văn Trường and Nguyễn Quốc Việt, heroes of the 2-1 victory against Qatar were benched in place of Bùi Vĩ Hào and Nguyễn Hồng Phúc.

Needing a victory to progress, Iran turned on the pressure from minute one with a chance on goal, but Lê Nguyên Hoàng made a timely challenge to clear the danger.

In the 13th minute, Việt Nam had their first chance from a set piece situation, but Khuất Văn Khang's free kick from 30 metres, unfortunately, hit the post.

Khang's unlucky free kick was perhaps an omen for a bad day for Việt Nam, as from a similar set piece opportunity in the 37th minute, Iran found their way into Cao Văn Bình's net, courtesy of Amin Hazbavi's towering header.

In the second half, Tuấn brought on Việt and Trường, in hopes to bring the mojo back to his team.

It did not take long for the changes to work when Việt found Phúc free and onside on the right wing in the 56th minute. Phúc delivered a pinpoint cross to captain Khang, who tapped in Việt Nam's equaliser.

Việt Nam tried to stay strong as the game drew to a close, but Iran's skillful players were menacing in the final third. In the 75th minute, the young Iranians again took the lead, through Saharkhizan's vicious one-touch strike inside the box.

With nothing left to lose, Tuấn pushed his players forward, knowing that even a 2-3 loss could grant his team progression into the quarterfinals.

Việt Nam did come close to their second goal, but Việt's header in the 84th minute was fantastically saved by Adib Zarei.

Five minutes later, Khang tried a lobbed shot toward the goal, but Zarei was vigilant and punched the ball wide.

In the fourth minute of added time, Iran got their third goal from a counter attack, which was finished beautifully by Hosseinnezhad.

Still needing a goal to qualify, Việt Nam continued to attack. In the final kick of the ball, Việt went down inside Iran's penalty area, but the referee waived away the protests and the match ended 1-3 to Iran.

Elsewhere, Australia decimated Qatar 9-1 to seal their progress into the quarterfinals as Group B winners.

Việt Nam despite levelling on points with Iran and Australia, were eliminated from the tournament on goal difference.

Although the World Cup dream for Việt Nam ended in agony, there is no doubt that the journey in the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup was captivating and gave rise to many promising young players in Trường and Việt.

Trường, Việt, Khang and many more are thought to be on the radar of new Việt Nam national team coach Philippe Troussier, and could receive a call-up to the U23 team or the national team in the near future. — VNS