Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam were unable to make another historic milestone at the AFC Asian Cup 2019 following a 1-0 loss to four-time champions Japan in the quarter-finals at Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai, tonight.
Thanks to Video Assistance Referee (VAR) technology, being deployed for the first ever time at the Cup, Việt Nam avoided going behind in the first half, but conceded a penalty from the same technology in the second half that proved decisive.
This was the second meeting between Việt Nam and Japan in the Asian Cup, Japan winning their first clash in the 2007 group stages, coming from 1-0 down to win 4-1. Việt Nam’s only previous venture into the quarter-final stage came in 2007, losing 2-0 to eventual winners Iraq.
Việt Nam played with confidence in the opening exchanges, and Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng had a left-footed shot from the right side of the box blocked.
Việt Nam had the first chance in the 14th minute, with striker Nguyễn Công Phượng beating several Japan players only to miscue his shot.
Just two minutes later, Nghệ An-born striker Phượng was through on Japanese goalie Shuichi Gonda again but was flagged for offside.
From a corner from the left wing, midfielder and captain Maya Yoshida found the back of the Việt Nam net in the 24th minute but his goal was disallowed after the referee consulted VAR and decided the ball had gone in off his hand.
Việt Nam fought back strongly, and Phượng’s shot from the left sailed high and wide to the right.
Gaku Shibasaki proved a constant threat, but his pass to Takehiro Tomiyasu failed to threaten Vietnamese goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm, who was born in Moscow to a Vietnamese father and a Russian mother.
As the game went from end to end, midfielder Phan Văn Đức had a shot saved by Gonda in the bottom left corner, and he went even closer following a mix up between Yoshida and Gonda but failed to capitalise
As the first half was drawing to a close, Lâm made an important save to keep Takumi Minamino’s shot out.
After the break, the Samurai Blues went in search of the opener, and Wataru Endo’s long shot came close, only for Lâm to produce another superb save.
Midfielder Bùi Tiến Dũng then fouled Ritsu Doan in the penalty area, and after the referee checked VAR a penalty was awarded to Japan.
Having taken the lead, Japan dominated with possession of 74 per cent, forcing Lâm into a series of saves.
In the closing minutes, Việt Nam stepped up their game in search of an equaliser but were unable to unlock the Japan defence.
Việt Nam squeezed into the knockout stages as the third-placed team in Group D, and confounded pre-match predictions to beat Jordan on penalties after a 1-1 draw in the round of 16. Group F winners Japan defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the round of 16.
Việt Nam’s run to the quarter-finals is the latest achievement in a whirlwind 12 months, which has included reaching the final of the AFC U-23 Championship, the semi-finals of the Asian Games and winning the AFF Championship. — VNS