Vietnam secure berth in 2020 AFC U23 finals after 4-0 win over Thailand

Tuesday, 2019-03-26 22:08:19
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Vietnamese players celebrate after Duc Chinh opens the scoring. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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NDO – Vietnam have officially made it through to the finals of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship after thrashing Thailand with four unanswered goals in their last qualifier at Hanoi’s My Dinh National Stadium on March 26 to claim top spot in Group K.

Forward Duc Chinh opened the scoring for Vietnam in the first half before Hoang Duc, Thanh Chung and Thanh Son netted three additional goals in the second to seal a convincing four-star win for coach Park Hang-seo’s side – a triumph with the largest margin against a Thai team in the history of Vietnamese football.

The victory has helped the Vietnamese team settle for first place in Group K with nine points and book a direct ticket to the 2020 AFC U23 finals as one of the 11 group winners in the qualification tournament.

Park’s troops headed into the match with strong determination targeting to bag the full three points, which would see them through to the final competition.

Both teams produced a number of shots in the first 10 minutes, but all of them went over the crossbar.

After 16 minutes, Duc Chinh got a favourable through ball from Van Hau and drove a shot between the Thai goalkeeper’s legs to give Vietnam U23s a 1-0 lead into half time.

Inspired by the advantage, Vietnam started the second half with great confidence and needed only eight minutes to earn their second goal. Midfielder Quang Hai delivered a personal showing, dribbling the ball past four Thai players in the box before delivering a pass to Hoang Duc who then skewed a volley to bury the ball in the back of the net.

Vietnamese players celebrate after Hoang Duc scores their second goal. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

As they were struggling to narrow the deficit, Thailand faced increasing difficulties as their key striker, Supachai, was shown a direct red card four minutes later following his brutal infringement on Vietnamese defender Dinh Trong.

The unexpected absence of Supachai negatively affected Thailand’s playing style, allowing Park’s players to continue extending their advantage thanks to a close-range attempt by Thanh Chung one minute after the hour mark.

Trailing by three goals discouraged the fighting spirit of Thailand. The remainder of the match saw Park’s warriors put constant attacks on coach Alexandre Gama’s side; however, Viet Hung and Quang Hai could not capitalise on the created opportunities to score additional goals for Vietnam.

As the match seemed to end with a 3-0 score, Thanh Son managed to beat the Thai keeper with a cunning shot inside the box two minutes into stoppage time to seal a fantastic four-star victory for the host team. This was Vietnam’s biggest win against a Thai team since the Tiger Cup 1998, which saw a 3-0 win for the Vietnamese side.

Vietnam U23s celebrate after the match. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

With the convincing triumph, Park Hang-seo’s troops have officially qualified for the 2020 AFC U23 finals as the Group K winners, scoring nine points after three group matches against Brunei (4-0), Indonesia (1-0) and Thailand (4-0).

Coach Park Hang-seo has led Vietnam U23s through the qualification tournament with three consecutive wins. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

The final rankings of Group K