AFF U18 Championship 2019

Hosts Vietnam face tough task to win semis berth

Wednesday, 2019-08-14 11:20:09
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Sharing one point in a goalless draw with Thailand U18s, Vietnam U18s (in red) now have slim chance to progress to semi-finals at the AFF U18 Championship 2019 on their home soil. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
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NDO – A goalless draw against Thai rivals during their Group B fourth match at the ongoing ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U18 Championship 2019 on August 13 leaves hosts Vietnam with slender hope to progress in the tournament on their home tuff.

>>> Vietnam beat Singapore 3-0 to kindle hope for semis

On Tuesday evening, Vietnam U18s entered their important match against Thai rivals at Ho Chi Minh City’s Thong Nhat Stadium, aiming for a win to book a semi-final berth.

The hosts began the day three points behind group leaders Australia, who collected nine points after three matches.

Vietnam rank third in Group B, behind runners-up Malaysia, who also have six points but with better goal difference. As only the top two teams in each group progress to the next round, Vietnam were forced to win with big margin against Thai rivals, as, in the Australia-Malaysia clash earlier the same day, Malaysia defeated Australia 3-0 to collect nine points, the same as Australia but with the Malaysians ahead on goal difference.

Vietnam headed into the later match with the task to beat Thailand to have a chance to progress, but their rivals proved to be stubborn opponents.

Vietnamese players actively played on the offensive and put strong pressure on Thailand's yard. Despite dominating the game in the first half, coach Hoang Anh Tuan’s side did not create scoring chances.

Vietnam and Thailand's players in action during their clash at Thong Nhat Stadium on Tuesday evening. (Photo: Mai Anh)

At the end of the first half and early in the second half, the Thai team gradually regained the possession and launched several quick attacks from both wings, but they were no better than Vietnam inside the box.

At the end of the match, the impatience almost cost Vietnam the game as they posed gaps behind, but luckily they did not concede. The ineffective attacks forced Vietnam to accept a 0-0 draw with Thailand.

After matchday four, Thailand said goodbye to the tournament, ranked at the bottom of the group with only two points, while Vietnam have only seven points, two points behind the top two teams Malaysia and Australia (nine points both).

In the final group match tomorrow, Vietnam need to beat Cambodia and wait for Malaysia or Australia to lose against Thailand and Singapore, respectively, in a hope for a ticket to the semis.

The current standings in both Groups A and B after matchday four at the tournament. (Photo: ASEAN Football Federation)