Vietnam’s inspirational run at Asian Games 2018 finally came to an end on Wednesday as they were beaten 3-1 by Korea Republic in the semi-finals.
It took the South Koreans just seven minutes to break the deadlock at the Pakansari Stadium, when Lee Seung-woo reacted quickest to a loose ball inside the box and sent a left-footed effort arrowing into the top corner.
And, two minutes before the half-hour mark, Hwang Ui-jo doubled their advantage when he beat the offside trap to run onto Son Heung-min’s incisive pass and coolly clipped a shot past Bui Tien Dung.
The contest was then effectively over ten minutes into the second half when Lee once again benefitted from a touch of fortune.
Having made a charge towards the opposition goal, the Hellas Verona starlet then sent a pass in search of Hwang Hee-chan but desperate defending by a Vietnam defender – also named Bui Tien Dung – saw him make the interception.
However, the ball fell kindly back to Lee, who had made a good follow-up run, and he was left with the simple task of poking the ball into the unguarded goal.
To their credits, the Vietnamese refused to give in and actually created a number of good openings, but were just lacking that extra bit of quality to match it with a team like Korea Republic.
But, in the 70th minute, Vietnam did grab a consolation courtesy of a fine effort by substitute Tran Minh Vuong, who lined up a 25-yard freekick before curling away a sublime effort that had Cho Hyun-woo – South Korea’s hero at the 2018 FIFA World Cup – beaten all ends up.
While they may have been defeated, Vietnam certainly gained plenty of admirers along the way and still have a chance to claim the bronze medal when they meet either Japan or United Arab Emirates in Saturday’s third place playoff.
VIETNAM: Bui Tien Dung, Pham Xuan Manh, Do Duy Manh, Tran Dinh Trong, Bui Tien Dung, Vu Van Thanh, Luong Xuan Truong (Tran Minh Vuong 46’), Pham Duc Huy (Nguyen Van Quyet 31’), Nguyen Quang Hai, Phan Van Duc, Nguyen Anh Duc (Nguyen Cong Phuong 76’).
KOREA REPUBLIC: Cho Hyun-woo, Kim Moon-hwan, Cho Yu-min, Kim Min-jae, Kim Jin-ya, Kim Jung-min, Lee Jin-hyun, Hwang Hee-chan, Lee Seung-woo (Hwang Hyun-soo 85’), Son Heung-min (Lee Si-young 72’), Hwang Ui-jo (Na Sang-ho 59’).
Photo credit: Asian Games 2018