2019 Asian Cup qualification

Head coach Park marks debut with ticket to finals

Tuesday, 2017-11-14 15:48:21
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Coach Park Hang-seo (centre) and the Vietnam team earn a ticket for the 2019 Asian Cup finals after the 0-0 clash with Afghanistan at My Dinh Stadium on November 14, 2017. (Credit: vietnamnet.vn)
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NDO – The Vietnamese football team welcomed guests Afghanistan in their clash in the 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualification on November 14, which was also the first match under Vietnam’s new head coach Park Hang-seo.

Drawing 0-0 with the West Asian team at My Dinh Stadium was enough for the hosts to secure a ticket to the finals, scheduled for UAE in early 2019. After five matches played, Vietnam had nine points, ranking second in Group C after Jordan, who beat Cambodia 1-0 on the same day to top the table with 11 points. Afghanistan and Cambodia were eliminated with three points each, despite still having one match to play.

Vietnam faced a lot of challenges as the team didn’t have much time to prepare for the game on Tuesday, while the guests had greater physical strength. In a must-win situation to qualify for the next round, Afghanistan showed that they are difficult to defeat.

The Afghan players looked to take advantage of their superior height and strength straight from the kick-off, by spreading the play wide and whipping crosses in to the box. Without an excellent save from goalie Tuan Manh, Vietnam could have conceded a goal in the 8th minute following Farshad Noor's header.

Manh was the best player on the Vietnamese side as he played with high concentration and continuously blocked the guests’ attacks. However, Manh’s teammates gradually faded in their attacks and seemed to lack the creativity to find a way past goalkeeper Hamidullah Wakili.

Vietnam (in red) faced great challenges in the game against the tall and strong West Asian players. (Credit: vietnamnet.vn)

With the first half ending 0-0, the game continued in the same vein in the second half, as Vietnam played on the counterattack, while Afghanistan constantly pumped long balls into the penalty area.

The simple tactic however caused many difficulties for the Vietnamese players as they were unable to keep up with their guests, especially in the late minutes as the players began to tire.

Although Vietnam had increased their pressure and speed, a lack of a breakthrough in the midfield was one of the reasons why Park’s team could not break down Afghanistan’s defensive line.

Completely behind Afghanistan in terms of physique, the paradox was that the best chance created by the red-shirted team in the second half came from a long ball with a header. In the 69th minute, Van Hoan delivered the ball right onto Anh Duc’s head in the penalty area but the Becamex Binh Duong striker’s finish forced the ball over the bar.

Towards the end of the game, Vietnam began to show more weaknesses compared with their opponents’ physical strength. Mistakes and gaps in the hosts’ defensive line constantly unfolded. Afghanistan had the best chance to win the three points but they also lacked luck when Amiri's header in the 85th minute hit the post.

The 0-0 result remained until the final whistle. Vietnam were unable to win in the debut match of Park Hang-seo. However, one point was enough for the team to book a berth in the 2019 Asian Cup finals. In their last match of the qualification round, Vietnam will play Jordan on March 27 next year for the group’s top position place.

Lines-up:

VIETNAM: Tuan Manh, Ngoc Thinh, Tien Dung (Duy Manh 26'), Van Hoan, Van Hau, Huy Hung, Xuan Truong, Van Quyet, Thanh Trung (Quang Hai 79'), Cong Phuong (Van Toan 61'), Anh Duc.

AFGHANISTAN: Hamidullah Wakili, Hassan Amin, Milad Intezar, Sahrif Mohammad, Abassin Alikhil, Haroon Fakhirudin, Noraollah Amiri (Khaibar Amani 73'), Farshad Noor, Faysal Sahyesteh (Omid Popalzay 62'), Zubayr Amiri, Milad Salem.

2019 AFC Asian Cup qualification table raking