Vietnam U16s progress to final of Japan-ASEAN tournament

Monday, 2018-03-12 12:04:11
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Vietnam's Vu Tien Long (in red) fight for the ball with a Thai player.
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NDO – Vietnam have set up a March 12 final match against Indonesia at the ongoing 2018 Japan-ASEAN U16 friendly football tournament, after brilliantly beating Thailand 5-4 in a tense penalty shootout in the semifinal clash on March 11.

En route to the decisive game, Thailand demonstrated superior power as they scored 12 goals and kept clean sheets in their two group games against Singapore and Brunei.

Fully aware of the opponents’ attack proficiency, Vietnam coach Dinh The Nam instructed his players to start the final match at a slow pace, whilst focusing mainly on the defensive front in order to optimally restrict Thailand’s offensive waves.

This strategy proved effective, as it made it difficult for the Thai players to put pressure on the Vietnamese goal despite having more of the ball.

After a slow start, Vietnam suddenly upped the tempo and created a number of dangerous attacking situations with ten minutes left before half time. Unfortunately, the finishing touches by Trung Hau and Nguyen Hoang lacked the accuracy needed to open the scoring for the Vietnamese side.

The balance was maintained by both teams until the final whistle, forcing the match to be decided by a penalty shootout.

Goalkeeper Duy Dung became Vietnam’s hero, as he saved three of the Thai player’s penalties, thus gifting Dinh The Nam’s side a 5-4 victory and a ticket to play in the final game against Indonesia, who recorded a surprising semifinal win against Japan U15s.