Vietnam fought hard to come back from one goal down and draw 1-1 against ten-man South Korea in their second Group C game at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup on Sunday night.
The draw meant defending champions South Korea were denied the opportunity to seal their berth in the knockout stage with a match to spare while Vietnam, runners-up in 2018, can still advance.
With strong attacking power, it did not take long for South Korea to create a good chance to score early as Lee Jin Yong’s shot hit the post eight minutes into the game.
Vietnam were forced to allocate more players for defense and use long passes to ease the Korean pressure.
The Golden Stars, meanwhile, had a few moments of their own, with their best chance of the first half coming in the 32nd minute, when Vu Tien Long escaped his marker to collect Khuat Van Khang’s cross at the near post, only to see his strike rattle the side netting.
|Vietnam (in red) and South Korea players vie for the ball in their second Group C game at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan, June 5, 2022. Photo: Huu Tan / Tuoi Tre
The hero of Vietnam in the first half was goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan, who made multiple great saves and denied all of South Korea’s chances, keeping the scoreline 0-0 going into the break.
Head coach Hwang Sun Hong sent on Oh Se Hun and Cho Young Wook, who scored twice against Malaysia, after the break to further bolster South Korea’s attacking options, but it was Vietnam’s Phan Tuan Tai who had the first glimpse on goal in the second half, but failed to keep his header on target.
South Korea broke the deadlock with a goal by Cho Young Wook, who turned and finished cleanly into the far corner in the 63rd minute.
While Vietnam were in a tough situation, advantage came to them in the 76th minute, when Jin Yong received the second yellow card for reacting to the referee and South Korea were down to ten men.
Vietnam made the most out of this opportunity to equalize seven minutes later when Tien Long delivered a thunderous strike.
|Vietnam’s Vu Tien Long (6) celebrates his equalizer against South Korea in their second Group C game at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan, June 5, 2022. Photo: Huu Tan / Tuoi Tre
In the fourth minute of added time, Vietnam would have scored another if Nguyen Van Tung’s tap-in had not gone over the bar.
While the draw is considered a success for Vietnam against the powerful defending champions South Korea, Vietnam's head coach Gong Oh Kyun expressed the regret that his side did not win during the post-match press conference.
“I’m sorry that Vietnam didn’t win today,” said Gong.
“We’ve had two draws in a row, but the race has yet to be settled, there’s still the last game in the group stage," the coach added, referring to their 2-2 tie against Thailand three days ago.
“I didn’t plan to draw, so I always told the players we would win, and we wouldn’t just expect a draw against South Korea,” he continued.
“I told the players to challenge themselves, fight and win.”
|Vietnam's head coach Gong Oh Kyun speaks at a press conference after their second Group C game at the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan, June 5, 2022. Photo: Huu Tan / Tuoi Tre
Before that, Gong also appreciated his players for trying their best during the game.
Sunday’s draw saw South Korea descend to second place in Group C, behind Thailand, who trounced Malaysia 3-0 in a later fixture the same night, while Vietnam remained in third position.
South Korea will play Thailand on Wednesday while group-bottom Malaysia will only compete for pride against Vietnam.
The 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup is the fifth edition of the biennial international football championship organized by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the men’s under-23 national teams of Asia.