|Viet Nam's U23 football team sent shock waves across the football competition at the 2014 Asian Games yesterday.— Photo kienthuc
HCM CITY (VNS) — Viet Nam's U23 football team sent shock waves across the football competition at the 2014 Asian Games yesterday.
They convincingly defeated four-time champions, Iran, 4-1 in Incheon City in their opening match of Group H.
Defender Vo Huy Toan put Viet Nam ahead after 23 minutes. Striker Mac Hong Quan scored the second five minutes later to double the lead for the country, which has never won the competition.
Captain Mohsen Mosalman pulled back one goal for Iran with a successful conversion from a penalty kick, but attacking midfielder Tran Phi Son quickly restored the lead with a crisp shot from the edge of the box.
Captain Ngo Hoang Thinh killed off four-time champions Iran when he scored from a direct kick just five metres from the goal line. This followed a mistake by goalkeeper Hojjat Sedghi, who used his hands to control a back pass from his teammate.
The win all but secured Viet Nam a place in the knockout stage when the team will take on the remaining team of a three-team group, Kyrgyzstan, on September 22, at the same venue.
Heading into the match as the underdogs, Viet Nam opted to play a defensive game with a low formation. The obvious intention was to catch the opponents off guard on the quick counter attacks.
The plan paid off when the Vietnamese side succeeded in taking advantage of space left behind by an Iranian side who committed many players up front, looking for an easy win.
In a quick attack, Quan raced forwards and passed the ball to Toan, who easily got past an Iranian defender before finding the back of the net to open the scoring.
Five minutes later, the provider Quan turned scorer when he dribbled past two Iranian defenders before sending keeper Sedghi in the wrong direction to score and double the advantage to 2-0. At half time, the score had not changed.
Iran came out as the better team in the second half and enjoyed more possession and created more chances. However, they failed to find the back of the net until after the hour mark.
Goalkeeper Tran Buu Ngoc got off the line to prevent a long ball, but he then made a clumsy challenge on Sharifi in the penalty area at the 63rd minute. The referee gave a penalty kick and Moshalman reduced the deficit to 2-1.
Iran's joy, however, was short lived when Son burst forward to the penalty area. Quan placed the ball on the edge of the goal box and Son drove the ball home with a low shot to restore the lead.
In the 80th minute, the referee awarded Viet Nam a direct kick just five metres from goal. Captain Thinh scored to make it 4-1.
Four minutes from the end, Iran were reduced to 10 men when Khanzadehdaraby Mohammad Reza was sent off after receiving a second yellow card when he floored Quan. With a one player lead over Iran, the Vietnamese side easily held on. — VNS