Van Toan’s extra-time strike seals Vietnam a semifinal place

Monday, 2018-08-27 22:59:20
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Van Toan celebrates after scoring the decisive goal of the match. (Photo: vnexpress.net)
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NDO – Forward Nguyen Van Toan came off the bench to score for Vietnam’s Olympic team as Park Hang-seo’s side narrowly beat Syria 1-0 in the quarterfinal clash on August 27 evening to qualify for the Asian Games semifinals for the first time in history.

Being put onto the field in replacement of favourite striker Cong Phuong, Van Toan lived up to expectations by scoring the solitary goal of the match in extra-time to keep Vietnam’s Asiad title hopes alive.

Vietnam dominated ball possession in the opening minutes and created the first opportunity of the match as Quang Hai delivered a pass into the box for Van Hau, but the latter failed to take control of the ball.

The game took place tensely in midfield, with both sides fighting fiercely and taking advantage of every chance to steal the ball for fast counterattacks.

Syria made optimal use of their advantages in terms of body shape and physical fitness to deploy attacks towards the Vietnamese field, forcing the “yellow stars” to play on the defence.

Van Toan (in white) plays actively after he is put onto the field. (Photo: vnexpress.net)

The Western Asian team produced the first shot on target after 15 minutes, as Almarmour Mohammad played one two with a teammate before curling a low shot that was not powerful enough to beat Vietnamese keeper Bui Tien Dung.

Syria threatened to score twice several minutes before half time. Tien Dung brilliantly blocked a counterattack from the Syrian side in the 36th minute before Albaher Mahmood produced a shot narrowly off post six minutes later.

The second half saw a number of scoring opportunities created by both sides, but neither successfully converted any of them into a goal, notably including a strike over the crossbar by Vietnamese defender Van Hau 16 minutes after the hour mark.

Eight minutes from over time, Park Hang-seo decided to withdraw Cong Phuong to give the place for Van Toan, who then played actively with constant strikes in the penalty box, but still could not prevent the match from entering extra time.

The Hoang Anh Gia Lai striker lives up to expectations by scoring the solitary goal for Vietnam. (Photo: vnexpress.net)

As it seemed that a penalty shootout would be used to decide the winners, substitute Van Toan shined brightly to break the deadlock and seal a thrilling victory for Park Hang-seo’s side.

With just a few minutes left for extra time, Vietnam captain Tien Dung delivered a long pass from the home field to striker Anh Duc, who lofted the ball over the Syrian keeper but was unluckily denied by the crossbar. However, the ball then found Van Toan and the Hoang Anh Gia Lai forward did not miss the golden opportunity to score a decisive goal of the game with a comfortable touch from close range.

The nail-biting victory fired Vietnam into the Asiad semifinals for the first time, where they will take on the Republic of Korea, who trounced reigning Asian U23 champions Uzbekistan 4-3 in another quarterfinal match earlier the same day.

The remaining semifinal clash will be between Japan and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) following their respective 2-1 and 5-3 (on penalties) triumphs over Saudi Arabia and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

VAN TOAN