U23 Vietnam (in red) draw 1-1 against U23 RoK in their second Group C game of the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup finals on June 5. (Photo: VNA)
– U23 Vietnam drew 1-1 against defending champions the Republic of Korea (RoK) in their second Group C game of the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup on June 5, despite going behind with less than thirty minutes left.
The RoK took the lead through Cho Young-wook, but went down to ten men in the 78th minute. Just five minutes later, Vietnam equalised through a great goal scored by Vu Tien Long.
Seven of Vietnam's starters in the match at Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent were under 21 years old. Quan Van Chuan replaced Nguyen Van Toan who injured his finger after the match against Thailand on June 3, while Nguyen Thanh Binh and Ly Cong Hoang Anh returned to bolster Gong Oh-kyun's squad.
Meanwhile, for Hwang Sun-hong's RoK side, core players Lee Kang-in, Oh Se-hun and Cho Young-wook are benched.
The Taeguk Warriors applied pressure right off the bat. In the 8th minute, Lee Jin-yong was through on goal after Luong Duy Cuong lost possession just outside the six-yard box. The midfielder's effort, however, was stopped by Binh.
Vietnam replied seven minutes later, with a trademark Coach Gong pressing play that lead to a Khuat Van Khang left-footed shot that went just over the bar.
The RoK’s best chance of the first half went to Grasshoppers FC's Jeong Sang-bin in the 26th minute, who hit the outside of the net.
It was Vietnam's turn a few minutes later when Le Van Do's cross met Tien Long in the far post. Long had a powerful shot but hit the side netting.
In the 42nd minute, Eom Ji-sung hit a low and dangerous shot toward the goal, but Quan Van Chuan was able to keep the ball out.
Chuan's name means "on point" in Vietnamese, and the second-choice goalkeeper was accurate in all his saves and punches, keeping the scoreline 0-0 going into the break.
The second half started with Vietnam getting the first dangerous chance when SEA Games final hero Nham Manh Dung's header breezed over the bar in the 52nd minute.
The RoK replied with an enormous amount of pressure in the next ten minutes, with Ko Jae-hyeon and Oh Se-hun forcing Quan Van Chuan to make super saves.
But even the heroics of Chuan couldn't paper over the cracks in the Vietnamese defence. In the 64th minute, Tuan Tai had an awful clearance that led to a counter from the RoK. Cho Young-wook was free in Vietnam's six-yard box, and his great turn and shot went past Chuan.
Coach Gong, however, did not falter. The RoK brought on four substitutions, Vo Dinh Lam, Dung Quang Nho, Nguyen Van Tung and Huynh Cong Den, to boost Vietnam's attacking prowess.
And the breakthrough for the men in red came at the 78th minute when Lee Jin-yong fouled Tung just outside the six-yard box. The central midfielder had already been booked for a blatant challenge before and was shown his second yellow card after VAR interfered.
With the man advantage, Vietnam pressed all over the RoK's half and got the equaliser they craved for.
Vu Tien Long (No.6) scores in the 73rd minute after a cross of Phan Tuan Tai. (Photo: VNA)
In the 73rd minute, a counterattack led to Phan Tuan Tai's cross from the left-wing that went through the RoK defence. The ball went to Vu Tien Long who was free inside the box and delivered a screamer into the top of Goh Dong-min's net.
Both teams went tit-for-tat in the final minutes of the match, but the two defences stayed strong and the match ended with a 1-1 draw.
With this result, Vietnam are in second place with two points to their name. Having drawn to Group C's toughest teams in Thailand and the RoK, they will face Malaysia on Wednesday, with a view of securing three points and qualification into the second round./.