Vietnam to meet Japan in AFC futsal quarterfinals

Tuesday, 2016-02-16 11:12:41
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Vietnamese players could not prevent Suphawut Thueanklang (number 9) from scoring a hat-trick for Thailand. (Credit: dantri.com.vn)
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NDO – Vietnam will face a crunch encounter against reigning champion Japan in the knockout stage of the 2016 AFC Futsal Championships after they missed the Group C top spot following a 1-3 loss to Thailand on February 15. 

With a better goal difference after the first two matches, Vietnam only needed a draw in their Monday clash with Thailand to secure first place of the group. 

However, that Japan beat Australia 3-1 to reign atop Group D forced the “Southeast Asia derby” between Vietnam and Thailand to proceed in a much more tense and thrilling fashion.

Determined to avoid powerhouse Japan in the quarterfinals, both teams deployed attacks right from the first whistle. Nevertheless, with a lineup of more qualified players, Thailand overwhelmed the first half constantly threatening the Vietnamese goal, and it was owing to brilliance of the goalkeeper that Bruno Garcia’s team could keep a clean sheet before half time.

It was not until the 31st minute that striker Suphawut Thueanklang opened the scoring for Thailand. However, Xuan Duy managed to level the score for Vietnam just seven minutes later.

As it seemed to be an aggregate draw and the group top spot for Vietnam, Suphawut Thueanklang shined with two additional goals in the last minute of play, sealing a 3-1 victory for Thailand.

With this results, Thailand topped Group C (nine points) and will play Group D runner-up Australia in the knockout round, while Vietnam ended up in second place (six points) and will face tough opponent Japan.

Quarterfinal clashes are scheduled for February 17. The four semifinalists will be eligible for the Futsal World Cup in Colombia, while the losers of the quarterfinals will join play-off matches to decide the last World Cup slot.