HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam's U-14 girls' football team beat a dogged Singapore 3-0 in their last Group A match of the Asian Football Confederation Cup U-14 Girls' Regional Championship yesterday.
A brace from striker Nguyen Thi Thu Hien on each side of substitute winger Pham Dieu Linh's goal helped defending champions Viet Nam finish second in the group and gain a place among in the semi-finals.
They will face the winners of Group B today at the Thong Nhat Stadium in HCM City .
Philippines, who took Group A after crushing Cambodia 6-0 in the last match, will take on the second-ranked team of Group B in the other semi-final game that will take place at the same venue.
Despite entering the match on the back of two defeats, Singapore started the match full of confidence and were actually able to disrupt Viet Nam's attacking game in the first ten minutes.
With abundance in pace and skill, Viet Nam steadily turned the match in their favour and began creating more space and chances.
In the 10th minute, the home team came close to opening the score as it was awarded a free kick following a foul on Hien, and Linh's curl well beat the wall and towards the high right corner of the goal, but keeper Nur Rynna Shazrina responded with a timely jump to palm the shot over the crossbar.
After many attacking efforts, the breakthrough finally came for the home team in the 23rd minute. A tremendous effort from skilful diminutive Nguyen Thi Lien on the edge of the box helped Hien have the ball around 10m out, and she released a powerful shot that actually caught Rynna off guard.
The losing goal did nothing to demoralise Singapore, who still showed great determination and efforts in their bid to put up a good performance and leave the tournament with some pride.
Singapore looked solid on defence but seemed harmless on the offence, as they never put Viet Nam's goal under threat while the Vietnamese team produced more and more chances only for the post to deny the goals after shots from Duong Thi Linh and Linh.
The first half came to an end with a harmless free kick from Singapore.
The same scenario occurred in the second half as Viet Nam were the better team and forced Singapore to defend. But Vietnamese players managed to add two more goals within three minutes, from the 55th to 58th minutes.
One minute from the 70-minute regular time, Lien made a brilliant solo footwork, which received encouraging claps from both the coaches, to beat three Singaporean players on her way into the penalty box, but her final shot from an angle was too weak and was easily saved by Rynna. — VNS