Nguyen Quoc Viet (number 14) celebrates after scoring for Vietnam against Australia in the U20 Asian Cup on March 1, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
A goal by striker Nguyen Quoc Viet helped Vietnam beat Australia 1-0 in the opening match in group B at the U20 Asian Cup in Uzbekistan on Monday.
After Viet’s early goal in the 6th minute, Vietnam settled down but played defensively to protect the lead and claim three points against a strong opponent.
The goal was a stunner. From a counter-attack initiated by Khuat Van Khang, Viet beat goalkeeper Jack Warshawsky to place the ball in the near corner.
After conceding early, Australia pushed forward to find the equalizer. They had 67% possession in the first half, and created many chances from the flanks.
But the crosses into the box by full-back Joshua Rawlins were blocked by defender Le Nguyen Hoang and goalkeeper Cao Van Binh saved from close range headers by striker Gabriel Popovic.
Vietnam had an opportunity to extend the lead in the first half when Nguyen Thanh Nhan’s header caused a challenge for the Australian keeper.
The second half was more balanced as the Vietnamese players showed as much fitness as their opponents.
Despite having less possession, Vietnam did well in duels, maintained a tight formation and kept the Australian players out of the box.
While Australia only had one shot, Vietnam created many chances on the break.
Nguyen Thanh Nhan and Bui Vi Hao threatened the Australian goal, but their shots were off target.
Australia’s short ball coordination lacked cohesion, which deprived them of chances. At the business end of the pitch, the Australian players were impatient and made poor passes and committed fouls, meaning Vietnam were not under much pressure and were able to comfortably protect their lead.
Vietnam next play Qatar and Iran in their remaining group matches.
If they advance to the semifinal, they will win a ticket to the U20 World Cup to be played in Indonesia in May.