|Under pressure: Trong Hoang dribbles the ball under pressure from an Uzbek player. Even though Hoang was dynamic throughout the game, he could not prevent Viet Nam from a humiliating 3-0 home defeat against Uzbekistan. — Photo Vu Dang
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam ended their Asian Cup 2015 qualification campaign in the most disappointing fashion since 2007, as the country blew any hopes with a 3-0 defeat home against Uzbekistan in yesterday's Group E match at the My Dinh National Stadium in Ha Noi.
The Asian Cup dream was shattered following a disappointing loss, which began with a blunder from goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong, who inexplicably dropped a simple ball, allowing Sodiev to lash into an empty net to put the Uzbeks ahead.
Viet Nam's fate was sealed just one minute into the second half when Sergeev Igor headed home to double the score, while substitute Rashidov Sardor put the gloss on a fine performance from the visiting team with a third goal in the 89th minute.
With four losses from four games, Viet Nam are rooted to the bottom of Group E without a single point and are unable to qualify even if they win all their remaining matches.
The match started rather openly with both teams showing attacking intent.
Just two minutes in, the Uzbeks had a chance to take an early lead when Igor faced goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong from a very close distance, but his shot was blocked by Truong's legs.
Viet Nam also threatened Uzbekistan's goal on some occasions, but never came close to scoring, partly due to the Uzbeks'deep concentration and miscommunication between Vietnamese players.
The hundred Uzbek fans in the My Dinh National Stadium were given a scare on the stroke of the hour as midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang broke through the Uzbek defence to race towards Eldorbek Suyunov's goal, but the Vietnamese talisman pushed the ball slightly too far ahead, allowing an Uzbek defender to pressure Hoang into fluffing his chance.
Vietnamese hearts sunk in the 40th minute when Truong's mistake handed Sodiev the easiest goal of his life to break the deadlock.
That silly goal really dealt a blow to Vietnamese players' confidence. Some players doubled over in disappointment, while a silence spread throughout the stadium's 5,000 supporters.
Any hopes of a comeback were dashed early in the second half, when Igor rose above Vietnamese defenders to meet Vitaliy Denisov's pass on the left wing and head past Truong into the far corner of the net.
Coach Nguyen made two substitutions, strengthening the attacking line with the introduction of striker Nguyen Anh Duc. Defender Nguyen Xuan Thanh replaced Phung Van Nhien, who suffered a heavy injury after a collision with an Uzbek striker, but these changes had little impact on the match.
Substitute Rashidov Sardor scored the third goal for the Uzbeks to leave Viet Nam's Asian Cup dreams in tatters.
"I thought it would be a very difficult game, but it got worse when Truong conceded a stupid goal. Losing a goal like that disastrously reduced the team's confidence," Nguyen Van Sy said.
Uzbekistan's coach looked calm when he entered the news conference room and dismissed the idea that Truong's blunder was a turning point in the match.
"I do not think our first goal turned the game in our favour. In fact, we played well throughout and had already had several chances to open the scoring," Mirjalol Kasimov said. — VNS