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Vietnam have mountain to climb after second goalless draw at AFC U23 tourney

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 13:56 GMT+7
Vietnam have mountain to climb after second goalless draw at AFC U23 tourney
Vietnam’s goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung (C) put on a brilliant performance in his team’s Group D game against Jordan at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand on January 13, 2020. Photo: N. Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnam now face tremendous difficulty heading into their final group game this Thursday after drawing 0-0 with Jordan in the second group-stage match at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand on Monday evening,

As the runners-up of the 2018 edition, where they lost 1-2 to Uzbekistan in extra time of the finale under heavy snow, Vietnam were expected to make an impact at this year’s tournament.

The junior Golden Dragons drew 0-0 against heavyweights the UAE in the opening game of Group D, which also consists of Jordan and North Korea, on Friday last week.

Vietnam went into Monday’s game against the Jordanians with determination to secure a victory to gain an advantage in the three-horse race for the tournament’s knock-out stage.

North Korea were already out of the race after two consecutive defeats against Jordan and the UAE in previous matches.

Yet Park Hang Seo’s side played out a second goalless draw on Monday with Jordan, who showed a better performance in the first half.

Had it not been for skillful saves from goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung, Vietnam would have conceded two goals in the 20th and 25th minutes.

While Vietnam’s performance improved after the restart, there were still not any noticeable threats to the Jordanian net until the last ten minutes.  

But Vietnam could not convert any of those chances and had to share the spoils with their opponents.

Vietnamese and Jordanian players vie for possession during their Group D match at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand on January 13, 2020. Photo: N. Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese and Jordanian players vie for possession during their Group D match at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand on January 13, 2020. Photo: N. Khanh / Tuoi Tre

The result means that Jordan have moved level on four points with the UAE at the top of Group D while Vietnam now stand in third with just two points after as many games.

North Korea sit rock bottom without a point.

The junior Golden Dragons must win their final group game against already-eliminated North Korea on Thursday so as to rekindle hope of advancing to the quarterfinals of the championship.

However, their fate will be decided by the result of the other Group D fixture between the UAE and Jordan, which will play out concurrently on Thursday.

If the UAE and Jordan settle for a draw with at least one goal to each side, Vietnam will be eliminated from the tournament regardless of their result against North Korea.

The 2020 AFC U23 Championship, the fourth edition of the event, is ongoing at four venues in Thailand between January 8 and 26, featuring 16 teams from across Asia.

The 2020 edition doubles as the qualifying round for men’s football at the Olympic Games in Tokyo later this year.

With Olympic hosts Japan already eliminated after suffering a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Syria in Group B on Sunday, the championship's top three teams will book a ticket to Tokyo 2020.

Vietnam have never qualified for men’s football at an Olympic Games.

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