Việt Nam hold defending champions South Korea to a draw

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Vũ Tiến Long (6) celebrating his equaliser against South Korea on Sunday. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đông

TASHKENT — Việt Nam’s under-23s drew 1-1 against defending champions South Korea in their second Group C game of the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup on Sunday, despite going behind with less than thirty minutes left.

South Korea took the lead through Cho Young-wook, but went down to ten men in the 78th minute. Just five minutes later, Việt Nam equalised through a great Vũ Tiến Long goal.

Seven of Việt Nam’s starters in the match at Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent were under 21 years old. Quan Văn Chuẩn replaced Nguyễn Văn Toản who injured his finger after the match against Thailand on Thursday, while Nguyễn Thanh Bình and Lý Công Hoàng Anh returned to bolster Gong Oh-kyun’s squad.

Meanwhile, for Hwang Sun-hong’s South Korea side, core players Lee Kang-in, Oh Se-hun and Cho Young-wook are benched.

The Taeguk Warriors applied pressure right off the bat. In the 8th minute, Lee Jin-yong was through on goal after Lương Duy Cương lost possession just outside the six-yard box. The midfielder’s effort, however, was stopped by Bình.

Việt Nam replied seven minutes later, with a trademark Coach Gong pressing play that lead to a Khuất Văn Khang left-footed shot that went just over the bar.

South Korea’s best chance of the first half went to Grasshoppers FC’s Jeong Sang-bin in the 26th minute, who hit the outside of the net.

It was Việt Nam’s turn a few minutes later when Lê Văn Đô’s cross met Tiến Long in the far post. Long had a powerful shot but hit the side netting.

In the 42nd minute, Eom Ji-sung hit a low and dangerous shot toward the goal, but Quan Văn Chuẩn was able to keep the ball out.

Chuẩn’s name means “on point” in Vietnamese, and the second-choice goalkeeper was accurate in all his saves and punches, keeping the scoreline 0-0 going into the break.

The second half started with Việt Nam getting the first dangerous chance when SEA Games final hero Nhâm Mạnh Dũng’s header breezed over the bar in the 52nd minute.

Korea replied with an enormous amount of pressure in the next ten minutes, with Ko Jae-hyeon and Oh Se-hun forcing Quan Văn Chuẩn to make super saves.

But even the heroics of Chuẩn couldn’t paper over the cracks in the Vietnamese defence. In the 64th minute, Tuấn Tài had an awful clearance that led to a counter from South Korea. Cho Young-wook was free in Việt Nam’s six-yard box, and his great turn and shot went past Chuẩn.

Coach Gong, however, did not falter. The South Korean brought on four substitutions, Võ Đình Lâm, Dụng Quang Nho, Nguyễn Văn Tùng and Huỳnh Công Đến, to boost Việt Nam’s attacking prowess.

And the breakthrough for the men in red came at the 78th minute when Lee Jin-yong fouled Tùng just outside the six-yard box. The central midfielder had already been booked for a blatant challenge before and was shown his second yellow card after VAR interfered.

With the man advantage, Việt Nam pressed all over South Korea’s half and got the equaliser they craved for.

In the 73rd minute, a counterattack led to Phan Tuấn Tài’s cross from the left-wing that went through the South Korean defence. The ball went to Vũ Tiến Long who was free inside the box and delivered a screamer into the top of Goh Dong-min’s net.

Both teams went tit-for-tat in the final minutes of the match, but the two defences stayed strong and the match ended with a 1-1 draw.

With this result, Việt Nam are in second place with two points to their name. Having drawn to Group C’s toughest teams in Thailand and South Korea, they will face Malaysia on Wednesday, with a view of securing three points and qualification into the second round. — VNS

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