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Vietnam advance to next round of AFC U20 Women's Asian Cup

Vietnam advanced to the next qualification round of the AFC U20 Women's Asian Cup after a 1-1 draw with India in Group F on March 11 at Pho Tho Stadium.

Both teams are level on seven points but Vietnam top the group due to their better goal difference.

Vietnam entered the tie only needing a draw but made to weather strong attacks from India, who had to win to advance.

Vietnam, advance to next round, AFC U20 Women's Asian Cup, next qualification round, Vietnam Football Federation, best player

Vietnam advance to the next round of AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup.

Their strong attempts pushed them into the lead through midfielder Babina Devi's long straight shot in the 12th minute.

A stung Vietnam immediately went on the offensive but had to wait till first-half stoppage time for the equaliser, with Tran Nhat Lan drawing them level.

In the second half, the hosts played better thanks to Ngoc Minh Chuyen, Luu Hoang Van and Ta Thi Thuy, who took turns pulling the Indian defence out of shape. However, their attempts were not enough to score more goals.

India, on the other hand, tried desperately to find a second goal, especially in the last 15th minutes with long balls into Vietnam's box to their strikers, who could not overcome focused and firm defenders.

President of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Tran Quoc Tuan congratulated the team and awarded them a bonus of 200 million VND (8,500 USD).

Speaking to reporters at the post-match press conference coach Akira Ijiri of Vietnam thanked the thousands of supporters who came and encouraged his team. He was surprised to see so many people come to the stadium for his team's debut at the tournament.

He said their encouragement played a key role in helping Vietnam get what they needed from the match against India. He confirmed that his players would work harder in the second qualification round.

Captain Le Thi Bao Tram said she called on her teammates to be aware of India's preference for long balls.

Conceding an early goal put Tram and her teammates under pressure, but relaxed more when they found the equaliser.

Tram was also voted as the best player of the match.

Coach Maymol Rocky of India was dismayed his side could only take a point from the match.

“My players did a good job and scored the first goal," Rocky said, who was impressed with three players Lan, Thuy and Chuyen who made up Vietnamese brilliant qualification. "We tried hard to find more goals but some players made mistakes."

"We could not go on in this tournament but there is a long way to go to be better. We will plan friendly matches for the girls and try to play well."

In the earlier match, Indonesia ended third after a 4-0 win over Singapore.

With both having lost their earlier matches, the tie at the Viet Tri Stadium was to avoid finishing bottom of the group.

Indonesia opened the scoring in the 11th minute through Helsya Maeisyaroh.

It was a lead they were never in danger of losing as forward Marsela Yuliana Awi doubled their advantage in the 37th minute.

Midfielder Liza scored Indonesia's third in the 67th minute with Marsela getting her second 11 minutes from the final whistle.

Indonesian Rudy Eka Priyambada shared that the team learnt a lot from this event and pointed out that Vietnam and India were much better than Indonesia.

He said his team needed time to prepare for the next tournament and would definitely play better.

Meanwhile, Hew Seem Chris of Singapore found many weaknesses in her team, who conceded 22 goals without scoring.

She recognised the strength of Singapore's opponents and said they will have to train ahead of the AFF championship in June.

The draw for the second round of the qualifiers will be held after the completion of the first round on March 12, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

For the second round, scheduled from June 3-11, the eight teams will be drawn into two groups of four teams.

The four best sides will earn a spot in the finals alongside the highest seeds from the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019: champions Japan, the Democratic People Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and the hosts Uzbekistan on March 3-16, 2024.

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Source: VNA

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