Japan put a stop to Vietnam’s fairytale run at AFC U-19 Championship

Vietnam failed to create any surprise against title favourites Japan as they succumbed to a 0-3 defeat at the hands of the team from the “land of the rising sun” in the semifinals of the 2016 AFC Championship in Bahrain on October 27.

U-19 Vietnam became a phenomenon at this year’s AFC Championship.
U-19 Vietnam became a phenomenon at this year’s AFC Championship.

>>> U-19 Vietnam qualify for 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup

While Vietnam coach Hoang Anh Tuan made few adjustments to the starting lineup, the Japanese side kept four key players, captain Daisuke Sakai, midfielder Ritsu Doan and forward duo Yuto Iwasaki and Ogawa Koki, on the bench.

As the underdogs, Vietnam proactively played counter attack; however, the difference in skill level left Vietnam unable to prevent Japanese opponents from dominating.

Kishimoto opened the scoring for Japan with a close-range finish six minutes into the match before Nakamura doubled the lead four minutes later.

It was not until the 19th minute that Vietnam enjoyed the first scoring chance; unfortunately, Tran Thanh’s final shot was off target.

The 2-0 score remained unchanged until halftime thanks to the brilliance of Vietnamese goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung, who produced a number of smart saves, including a 28th-minute penalty kick by Hatsuse.

After the break, Vietnam intensified their attacks seeking for equalisers, but failed to break through Japan’s solid defence.

Despite deploying fewer attacks than in the first half, Japan still enjoyed a third goal thanks to Nakamura in the 50th minute.

The 3-0 win over Vietnam has put Japan in the final match against Saudi Arabia, who defeated Iran 6-5 in a nail-biting encounter earlier the same day.

As for Vietnam, the 2016 AFC Championship proved to be a successful tournament for the Southeast Asian team as they secured a place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup as semifinalists for the first time.