|Vietnamese striker Huỳnh Như vies for the ball with defender Stephanie Catley in the return leg against Australia in the Tokyo Olympics qualifier play-off in Quảng Ninh Province yesterday. Việt Nam lost 1-2. — Photo vov.vn|
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam women’s football team missed their chance to compete in the Tokyo Olympics following their 1-2 loss against Australia in the return leg of the event’s play-off yesterday.
The game was held at Cẩm Phả Stadium in northern Quảng Ninh Province. It was played behind closed doors due to growing fear of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The world No 7 team, Australia, secured a place in the 2020 Olympic Games with 7-1 win on aggregate. Earlier, Việt Nam lost 5-0 to Australia in the first leg in Newcastle.
Việt Nam played with a low squad but couldn’t withstand the constant pressure from their tough rival.
Just four minutes in, Caitlyn Foord overcame the Vietnamese defence and shot but the ball hit the cross bar.
Six minutes later, striker and captain Huỳnh Như had a clear chance but the Australian goal keeper Lydia Williams saved it.
In the 15th minute, striker Sam Kerr had the match’s opening goal, giving Australia a 1-0 lead and placing her second on the all-time goal-scorers list of Australia with 42 in her 88-match career.
Dương Thị Vân then suffered a collision with a tall striker of the Australian side.
The visiting side continued to maintain their pressure and doubled their goals after a simple combination in the 27th minute thanks to Hayley Raso.
In the 36th minute, the visitors were awarded a penalty but goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh blocked their chance.
The dominance still belonged to the Australian team in the second half.
The Vietnamese goal was threatened seriously by counter attacks of Australia. However, goalie Thanh emerged as a bright spot with many situations to defend her goal.
The hosts still resisted patiently and suddenly had a goal to narrow the gap to 1-2 in the 55th minute. Using the mistake of defender Clare Polkinghorne, striker Như escaped, launching a technical shot past goalkeeper Williams.
This was the first time in the history of confrontation at the national team level, Việt Nam were able to score past Australia.
In their last six meetings, Việt Nam had conceded 34 goals and scored none.
Như’s goal helped the red-shirted players play more confidently in the remaining minutes of the match. Việt Nam defended firmly and had a few chances approaching the opponent's goal but Thái Thị Thảo and Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung could not take advantage to score more goals. — VNS