Vietnam concede twice against Iran despite brave display

Saturday, 2019-01-12 20:45:07
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Vietnamese players (in red) fight bravely against title favourites Iran. (Photo: vnexpress.net)
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NDO – Vietnam produced a brave display during the entire 90 minutes, but could not save themselves from a 0-2 defeat against heavyweights Iran in their second Asian Cup Group D match at Al Nahyan Stadium in Abu Dhabi on January 12.

Forward Sardar Azmoun scored in either half to give coach Carlos Queiroz’s side a second consecutive win in this year’s continental campaign, following a resounding 5-0 triumph over debutants Yemen in the opener a few days ago.

The Golden Dragons headed into the match with high confidence and determination seeking to achieve a positive result against the odds-on title favourites to foster hopes of advancing to the knock-out phase.

However, Iran demonstrated the superior power of the no. 1 team in Asia by dominating ball possession in the majority of the first half. Queiroz’s troops put constant pressure on the Vietnamese goal right from the first whistle, forcing the Southeast Asian representatives to play on the defence.

Vietnam keeper Dang Van Lam read the game well blocking a through ball to Sardar Azmoun in the box seven minutes into the game. The custodian was forced to make a brilliant save nine minutes later as Saman Ghoddos, assisted by Ashkan Dejagah with a through ball, fired a right footed shot from close range.

In the following minutes, the Vietnamese keeper displayed a high level of concentration with two consecutive blocks, punching a cornerkick converter by Mehdi Taremi before parrying a right footed shot by Sardar Azmoun from the right side of the box.

The Golden Dragons fought bravely against stormy attacks from the Iranian side; however, their backline only stood firm until the 38th minute, as Saman Ghoddos’s right-wing cross was successfully converted by Sardar Azmoun with a comfortable header from very close range to the bottom left corner.

Forward Sardar Azmoun is the hero of Iran with a double. (Photo: vnexpress.net)

After the break, Park Hang-seo decided to put forward Van Toan onto the field to replace Phan Van Duc with the aim of strengthening Vietnam’s attacking power. The substitution immediately worked with Van Toan producing a favourable assist to Cong Phuong seven minutes off the bench. Regretfully, the no. 10 striker failed to utilise this clear-cut chance to equalise for the AFF Cup champions with a shot at the Iranian keeper.

In the 53rd minute, Van Lam went on to rescue the Vietnamese side by parrying a powerful strike by Sardar Azmoun from outside the box, before Mehdi Taremi shot over the crossbar on the rebound. However, nine minutes after the hour mark, it was Azmoun again who got on the scoresheet to double Iran’s advantage with a left-footed shot past the Vietnamese goalie.

With time running out, the Golden Dragons made concerted efforts to pull a goal back, only to see forward Nguyen Quang Hai miss two opportunities in succession with a blocked freekick in the 76th minute and a shot narrowly wide in the last minute of play.

The 2-0 win has kept Iran firmly on top of Group D with six points and remain on track in their goal of advancing as the group leader. Meanwhile, the second defeat in a row means that the Vietnamese side will have to beat Yemen with a wide margin in their last group match on January 16 to keep alive their hopes of making the knock-out phase.

VAN TOAN