Corner kick goal gives Vietnam winning start at AFF U18 Championship

2019-08-09 10:14:46

A direct goal from a corner kick in the 89th minute gave hosts Vietnam a winning start at the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U18 Championship - Next Media Cup 2019, as they beat defending champions Malaysia 1-0 in their Group B opening game on August 7.

The starting lineup of Vietnam U18s. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)

Falling into a tough group with the presence of strong rivals, namely defending champions Malaysia, Australia, Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore, Vietnam were determined to gain good results in their opener at Ho Chi Minh City’s Thong Nhat Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Under the cheer of thousands of home fans, coach Hoang Anh Tuan’s side attacked right from the first whistle and created two chances in just the first four minutes, both passes through the feet of captain Bui Tien Sinh but failed to open the scoring.

In the 5th minute, Nguyen Xuan Binh broke the offside trap to face Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Fadhil, however, Binh's shot missed the target.

Fadhil was called to action again two minutes later to deny Manh Quynh’s finish from outside the box.

Quynh also missed the best chance to open the scoring in the first half, as his powerful shot in the 32nd minute beat Fadhil but bounced off the post.

Malaysia showed a strong defensive play which helped them withstand the bombardment from the hosts in the first 45 minutes.

Vietnam U18s continued to maintain their pressure after the break, but with good fitness the Malaysian players still had enough strength to maintain their defensive play, and even launched several quick counter-attacks, while the hosts continued with a stalemated performance and proved to be unlucky against the opponents’ goal.

Missing several good chances to score, Vietnam faced huge challenges in the last minutes of the second half, as the defending champions fought back, thanks to their superior physical strength.

However, the sole goal of the match came with surprise in the 89th minute, as substitute Minh Trong found the net from a right corner kick, thanks to some poor defending from the visitors.

The narrow victory earned Vietnam a wining start at this year’s tournament, before they meet strong rivals Australia on August 9, who defeated Cambodia 5-1 earlier the same day to top the group after the first matchday.

Also on Wednesday, substitute Danish Qayyum Putra Shahrin Azhar's chip shot gave Singapore a valuable point in their opening game of Group B when they held Thailand to a 1-1 draw at HCM City’s Thanh Long Stadium.

Australia temporarily lead the group with three points, on par with second place Vietnam but with a better goal difference.

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