AFC U23 Championship

U23 Vietnam has to stop at the group stage of U23 AFC Championship 2020

Bangkok: Ri Chung-gyu’s last minute penalty earned DPR Korea a 2-1 win at Rajamangala Stadium on Thursday that ensured 2018 AFC U23 Championship finalists Vietnam would not progress to the knockout rounds of the 2020 edition of the competition.

17/01/2020 08:38:04

Vietnam needed to win to have any hope of taking one of the top two places in Group D of the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 and took the lead through Nguyen Tien Linh 16 minutes into the game.

But a goalkeeping error by Bui Tien Dung handed DPR Korea an equaliser 11 minutes later to seriously wound Vietnam’s chances and Ri’s 90th minute penalty sealed Vietnam’s fate as DPR Korea picked up their first win of their tournament.

The East Asian side, who went into the game having already been eliminated, had threatened to open the scoring with only nine minutes on the clock as Kim Kuk-jin raced into the area, only to fire his shot harmlessly across the face of goal.

That gave the Vietnamese a jolt and, seven minutes later, Park Hang-seo’s side had taken the lead. Ho Tan Tai scampered down the right before sending in the perfect centre for Nguyen Tien Linh to roll home from inside the six yard box.

The advantage, though, was only to last 11 minutes as an error from goalkeeper Tien Dung gifted DPR Korea the equaliser when his attempt to punch Kang Kuk Chol’s free-kick went wrong, the ball hitting the underside of the bar before crossing the line via Tien Dung’s back.

It was a cruel blow for the Vietnamese, but the Southeast Asian side kept pushing forward, with Tien Linh’s glancing header late in the half flying across the face of the DPR Korea goal.

The Vietnamese continued to press DPR Korea in the second half. Tien Linh slipped past the defence only to fire well off target while Nguyen Quang Hai’s effort from the edge of the area went wide.

Nguyen Doang Duc and Ha Duc Chinh also threatened without success and, with the clock ticking down, Kim Kwang-hyok was fouled in the penalty area and Ri converted to kill Vietnam’s hopes.

The disappointment was compounded further in the final seconds when Tran Dinh Trong was sent off as the former runners-up were left to make the journey home.