Vietnam cruise into AFC U-16 football quarterfinals

Vietnam defeated Kyrgyzstan 3-1 in their last group-stage match at India’s GMC Stadium on September 22 to make it through to the quarterfinals of the 2016 AFC U-16 Championship as Group B runners-up with six points.

U-16 Vietnam players celebrate a goal.
U-16 Vietnam players celebrate a goal.

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Ahead of the clash, Vietnam stood second in the group with three points; three points behind leaders Japan and ahead of Kyrgyzstan thanks to a better goal difference. Therefore, the team only needed a draw with Kyrgyzstan on Thursday to officially secure a place in the knockout stage.

Vietnam played offensively right from the start; however, Kyrgyzstan remained calm and successively addressed the attacks of the red-shirts.

Gulzhigit gifted Kyrgyzstan with an early lead after six minutes of play dragging past three Vietnamese players before beating goalkeeper Huu Tuan with a nice right-footed curler.

Vietnam then picked up their game looking to equalise the score, their efforts paid off with a leveler by Khac Nghiem in the 20th minute.

Vietnam could have cruised to a lead several minutes before half time as the referee denied Shigaibaev’s own goal following a cross by Huynh Sang, who was said to be in offside position.

It was not until the 80th minute that Vietnam successfully reversed the situation. Keeper Elgard made a rudimentary mistake carelessly handling Dinh Hai’s free-kick and thus gifting Vietnam a second goal.

Eight minutes later, Dinh Hai curled a nice cross into the box from the left wing, enabling Viet Cuong to seal a third for Vietnam with a cunning finish on the far bottom corner.

Next up for Vietnam will be a quarterfinal clash with Group A leaders Iran on September 25.