2020 AFC U23 Championship: Vietnam eliminated as UAE, Jordan advance to quarters

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

2018 runners-up Vietnam have suffered a disappointing group-stage exit at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship after finishing bottom of Group D with a 2-1 loss to DPR Korea on Thursday evening.

It was Vietnam who broke the deadlock at the Rajamangala Stadium after 16 minutes when Nguyen Thanh Chung’s searching ball from defence released Ho Tan Tai, who raced down the right before squaring a neat pass to leave Nguyen Tien Linh with a simple tap-in.

Nguyen Tien Linh breaks deadlock for Vietnam against DPR Korea

However, the North Koreans levelled the scores three minutes before the half-hour mark when Kang Kuk-chol tried his luck with a 30-yard freekick that looked like it would lead to a routine save for Bui Tien Dung, only for the Vietnam goalkeeper to make an absolute mess of it and punch the ball off the bar and into goal of his own back.

Bui Tien Dung commits howler to give DPR Korea equalizer

And, in the 90th minute, DPR Korea went to seal an impressive come-from-behind win when Ri Chung-gyu sent Tien Dung the wrong way from the penalty spot, after Kim Hwang-hyok had needlessly been clattered into inside the box by Tran Bao Toan.

Having needed a win at the very least to keep alive their hopes of advancing, the result even meant that Vietnam dropped below the North Koreans to occupy the fourth and bottom spot in the group.

Instead, it is United Arab Emirates who will advance as Group D winners along with Jordan after the two teams played out a 1-1 draw over at Buriram Stadium.

Zaid Al-Ameri opened the scoring for the Emiratis four minutes before halftime, but Ihab Al-Khawaldeh struck in the 79th minute to earn Jordan a share of the spoils.