Midfielder Trieu Viet Hung scored a dramatic late winner to steer Vietnam to a close 1-0 victory over Indonesia in their second Group K clash of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers at Hanoi's My Dinh National Stadium on March 24.
Vietnam dominated ball possession and deployed constant attacks throughout the match, but it was not until the last minute of play that coach Park Hang-seo breathed a sigh of relief, as Viet Hung headed home a right-wing corner kick by captain Nguyen Quang Hai to seal a crucial win for the home side.
The second consecutive triumph allowed Vietnam U23s to continue fostering their hopes of advancing to the final competition. Park's troops are now second in the group with six points, behind Thailand U23s, who demolished Brunei 8-0 earlier on the same day, on goal difference.
Vietnam played a dominant game in the first half, but did not create many truly dangerous attacks towards the Indonesian goal. An eye-catching left-footed freekick by Quang Hai in the 40th minute was the best chance for the reigning Asian runners-up; however, keeper Satria Tama Hardiyanto chose the right position and punched the ball for a timely save.
Meanwhile, Indonesia also threatened the Vietnamese goal on the half hour mark with a free-kick that forced goalie Bui Tien Dung to make two consecutive punches to parry it to safety.
The Hanoi FC keeper continued to rescue Park's side eight minutes after the break by blocking Egy Maulana Vikri's strike in a faceoff.
With time running out, Vietnam managed to create some more opportunities to break the deadlock, but the attempts by Hoang Duc (59', 87') and Thanh Binh (64') were not accurate enough to be converted into a goal, as all the three strikes went over the crossbar.
As it deemed to be a disappointing goalless draw for both sides, Trieu Viet Hung shined brightly with an unstoppable close-range header to score the solitary goal of the match and seal Vietnam U23s a thrilling victory against Indonesia.
Next up for Vietnam will be the last group clash with Thailand U23s on March 26. In case of a win, Park Hang-seo's side will secure first place in Group K and get a direct ticket to the 2020 AFC U23 Championship finals, to be held in Thailand.
As for Indonesia U23s, the second consecutive defeat has officially put an end to their dream of advancing to the final competition. The upcoming encounter between Indonesia and Brunei on Tuesday will be just a formalistic match for both teams.
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