AFC U-23 Championship: Spirited Vietnam lose to Korea Republic

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Vietnam gave a good account of themselves in their 2018 AFC U-23 Championship Group D opener against giants Korea Republic but ultimately came up short in a 2-1 loss.

Despite coach Park Hang-seo opting for a conservative 5-4-1 approach against the mighty South Koreans, it was Vietnam who remarkably took the lead after 17 minutes.

Doing well to break forward and hit the byline, Doan Van Hau then cut back a cross which was dummied by Nguyen Cong Phuong into the path of Nguyen Quang Hai, who proceeded to send a sublime curling effort into the far corner.

However, their lead lasted until a minute before the half-hour mark as Cho Young-wook equalised for Korea Republic, beating the offside trap on the left-side of the box before squeezing his shot over the line.

The South Koreans had a glorious opportunity to edge ahead two minutes after the break when they won a penalty, after Lee Keun-ho had raced onto Han Seung-gyu’s through-pass only to be hacked down by Van Hau.

Nonetheless, the chance was spurned by Yoon Seung-won as he tried to be too clever and sent a tame chip harmlessly straight into the arms of Tien Dung.

But, as the game wore on, it always looked as though Korea Republic were the likelier of the two teams to go on and win it.

And, in the 73rd minute, they did just that when Yoon made amends for his miss from the spot, floating a lovely freekick in from the left that saw Lee get in ahead of Tien Dung to send a header into the back of the net.

The win means the South Koreans are currently second in Group D behind Australia, while Vietnam are third due to their superior goal difference over Syria.

KOREA REPUBLIC: Kang Hyeon-mu, Park Jae-woo, Lee Sang-min, Hwang Hyun-soo, Kuk Tae-jeong, Han Seung-gyu (Choe Jae-hoon 84’), Hwang Ki-wook, Cho Jae-wan (Jang Yun-ho 46’), Yoon Seung-won, Cho Young-wook, Lee Keun-ho.

VIETNAM: Bui Tien Dung, Vu Van Thanh, Do Duy Manh, Tran Dinh Trong, Bui Tien Dung, Doan Van Hau (Pham Xuan Manh 79’), Luong Xuan Truong, Pham Duc Huy (Phan Van Duc 83’), Nguyen Quang Hai, Nguyen Cong Phuong, Ha Duc Chinh (Nguyen Van Toan 72’).