Vietnam have made it through to the quarterfinals of the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship after edging out hosts Taiwan on Monday, securing a second consecutive knockout berth at an Asian competition in less than a month.
The hosts took the lead with a goal from Huang Po Chun in the first half, but Vu Duc Tung, Pham Duc Hoa and Nguyen Dac Huy scored to seal the win for Vietnam.
The Golden Stars advanced to the knockout phase as the Group A leaders with seven points after three games, whilst Taiwan were eliminated on their home turf.
Bahrain beat Malaysia 3-1 in the other group stage game on Monday to go through as Group A runners-up.
The feat is remarkable for Vietnam as they started the competition with a 1-2 loss to Malaysia before bouncing back to beat Bahrain 2-1.
Taiwan's coach Jose Adil Amarante said he was proud of his team despite the loss and elimination.
He admitted that there is a gap between the hosts and the “very experienced” Vietnamese.
“Vietnam are a team who are very experienced and are used to these situations and matches,” he said.
Vietnam’s coach Miguel Rodrigo said his players were unable to break the hosts' defense in the first half.
“During the half-time break I told them it’s time to play and die for your country,” he said.
“And their attitude changed. Little by little, we found our rhythm and finally scored the first goal. After the first goal, we got better.”
Vietnam will face Group B runners-up Uzbekistan on Thursday in the quarterfinals.
Coach Rodrigo said while Uzbekistan are one of the best teams at the event and the champion favorites, his men will “play with the Vietnamese spirit” because “we are warriors.”
|Vietnam's coach Miguel Rodrigo speaks to reporters following their match against Taiwan at the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship in Taiwan on February 5, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
This is the second occurrence in less than a month that Vietnam have made it to through to the quarterfinals of a continental competition.
In association football, Vietnam secured their first-ever knockout berth at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China in late January, before continuing their fairytale run to win the event’s second-place.
The 15th biennial AFC Futsal Championship is organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the men's national futsal teams of Asia. The reigning champions are Iran, who won 11 out of 14 tournaments held.
The tournament takes place between February 1 and 11 with a total of 16 teams participating in Taipei and New Taipei City.
Vietnam are making their fifth appearance, with the fourth place in the 2016 tournament being their best performance so far.