Star Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai’s goal in the finale between Vietnam and Uzbekistan at the AFC U23 Championship almost two years ago has won a poll to become the biennial event’s most iconic goal ever.
As the finals of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship are set to kick off in Thailand in just two weeks, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) shortlisted eight goals from all three previous editions of the event on December 13 for fans to pick the most iconic one on its website.
When the poll came to an end on Sunday afternoon, Nguyen Quang Hai’s strike was declared an absolute win, collecting 1,159,847 votes, or 79.1 percent of the total ballots.
Hai curled the free kick into the top corner after Vietnam had conceded an early goal from the Uzbeks in the snowy finale in China in 2018, equalizing the score and bringing it to extra time.
Although Vietnam later settled for the silver medal after Uzbekistan scored the winner in the 119th minute, the AFC hailed Hai’s performance with a shower of compliments.
“While Uzbekistan won the tournament, Nguyen Quang Hai captured the imagination and his 'Rainbow in the Snow' in the final – one of five superb goals by the midfielder – provided one of the most iconic moments the competition has ever seen,” the AFC wrote in the article introducing the poll.
Iran star Torabi’s goal in the group stage game against China in 2016 came in second with 298,037 votes, while Uzbek Azizjon Ganiev’s extra-time strike into the South Korean net in the semifinals in 2018 followed in third with only 6,193 votes.
The AFC U23 Championship is an international football tournament that has been held by the AFC every two years since 2014.
The fourth edition of the event, the 2020 AFC U23 Championship, will be hosted by Thailand from January 8 to 26, featuring 16 teams from across Asia.
It will also be the first football tournament organized by the AFC to implement the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) throughout the competition.
Vietnam will play the UAE in the opener of Group D, which also features North Korea and Jordan, on January 10.