Vietnam claim title at 2017 AFF U-15 Championships

Sunday, 2017-07-23 06:38:25
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U-15 Vietnam beat U-15 Thailand in a penalty shoot out to be crowned champions of the 2017 AFF U-15 Championship, Thailand, July 22. (Credit: vff.org.vn)
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NDO – After holding hosts Thailand to a 0-0 draw after 90 official minutes of the final of the 2017 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U-15 Championships, Vietnam defeated their strong rivals 4-2 in a dramatic penalty shootout to win the title of the tournament on July 22.

Goalie Duy Dung was the hero for U-15 Vietnam as he successfully saved two penalties from the Thai players. Meanwhile, four of his teammates did their job, giving Thai goalkeeper Tewweesri no chance.

This is the first time a Vietnamese football team has been crowned champions in a U-15 Southeast Asian championship.

Entering the final, both teams had six wins in the tournament. Vietnam had conquered defending champions, and favourites for the championship, Australia, 2-0 in the semi-finals. In the group stage, Coach Vu Hong Viet’s team had five convincing wins against Cambodia 2-1, Brunei 2-1, Philippines 7-0, Malaysia 1-0 and Timor Leste 4-0.

Meanwhile, Thailand has been a powerhouse in regional football for a long time and had the advantage of playing at home with the raucous support of thousands of Thai fans.

The strength of the team from the Land of Golden Temples was shown in the first half as they began the game with great determination, controlling the ball and overwhelming the U-15 Vietnam team.

However, the Vietnamese players played well and created more dangerous opportunities in the opponents’ final third. If Thanh Tu, Nguyen Hoang and then Quoc Hoang had mad more of their chances from counterattacks, the net of U-15 Thailand might have rippled in the first half.

In the second half, the scenario was repeated as Thailand continued to strengthen attacks in their search for goals, while U-15 Vietnam, after focusing on defence, were actively pushing up making the match much more attractive for the spectators.

In the dying minutes of the second half, as physical fatigue began to take its toll, the visitors mainly played defensively, but the home team's strikers were unable to score and both teams were forced to enter the decisive penalty shootout.

Vietnam were better with four successful penalties and an excellent performance from goalkeeper Duy Dung as he saved twice to help the team to a 4-2 win over Thailand, crowned champions right on the opponents’ ground.

This afternoon, the U-15 Vietnam will be present at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi with the AFF Cup. The achievement will certainly be a fulcrum for Coach Vu Hong Viet and his players to be more confident in preparing for the 2018 U-16 Asian Cup qualifier in Mongolia this September.

Goalkeeper Duy Dung had an excellent performance in the U-15 Vietnam’s goal, helping his team to be crowned champions for the first time. (Credit: vff.org.vn)