Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Yokohama FC defended their title after defeating Việt Nam 2-0 in the final of the Thanh Niên Newspaper International U-21 Football Tournament, held yesterday in Cần Thơ Province.
The match was the second meeting between the two sides in the annual tournament.
During the round robin qualification stage, the Japanese team scored a goal in extra time to tie with Việt Nam 2-2. The result was enough to see them both face each other again in the final match.
Yokohama, who fielded their best players, did not have any difficulty dominating their hosts, who were without striker Trần Ngọc Sơn, because of a red card from a previous match.
Meajima Yota scored the opener in the 17th minute, after receiving the ball from a corner kick. Yota controlled the ball with his right foot and shot into the goal.
Việt Nam pushed hard and created more attacks, but they failed to threaten goalkeeper Ichikawa Akinori.
Their only serious chance came when Triệu Việt Hưng stole the ball and passed to striker Đinh Thanh Bình near the box. However, Bình, who scored a double in the previous match, could not beat Akinori, who also saved many other shots from the hosts during the final.
Just four minutes after the interval, the score was 2-0 for the reigning champions.
Captain Saito Kosuke leapt and headed the ball, which was crossed from the right wing, into the net.
Vietnamese goalie Roman Suo tried his best but he could not save his team and prevent the second goal.
Coach Trịnh Duy Quang made changes to improve his attack. However, his players were still not strong enough to break Yokohama’s stern defence.
In the third-place playoff, Myanmar beat Thailand 4-2 to take the bronze medal.
Yokohama went home with a bonus of US$12,000. The Japanese team also secured individual awards, as Kosuke was voted the best player of the tournament. His teammate, Matsuoka Rimu, was the leading scorer with four goals, and Akinori was the best goalkeeper. — VNS