Asian Cup 2019: Vietnam and China through to quarter-finals

DUBAI • Jordan had not conceded a single goal en route to the round of 16 at the Asian Cup, but Vietnam showed they were far from overawed by their opponents' greater pedigree to triumph 4-2 on penalties after the match finished 1-1 following extra time yesterday.

The Middle Eastern side became the first team to book their place in the knockout stage, beating reigning champions Australia and Syria to win Group B, while the Vietnamese had only squeaked through by virtue of having a superior disciplinary record to Lebanon.

Yet there were no signs of any inferiority complex from Park Hang-seo's Vietnam side as they matched Jordan for effort, with little to separate the teams in a tightly contested match at the Al Maktoum Stadium.

Vital Borkelmans' men, however, opened the scoring in the 39th minute. Their goal was disputable though, with Vietnam having some grounds for grievance.

They were penalised for a high boot, with Jordan being awarded an indirect free kick inside the box. It also looked like Yousef Al-Rawashdeh had touched the ball to tee-up Baha Abdel-Rahman, who lashed it into the roof of the net.

But the AFF Suzuki Cup champions did not let their heads drop.

Going behind galvanised Vietnam and they responded by peppering Amer Shafi's goal, with Do Hung Dung coming closest to breaching the Jordan defence.

And they were rewarded for their tenacity with Nguyen Cong Phuong's volleyed equaliser six minutes after the break.

Nguyen Trong Hoang sent an inviting cross into the area and Phuong got between their backline to flick the ball into the net.

But, while both teams went in search of the winner, neither could find the breakthrough.

In the shoot-out, Jordan fluffed their lines with Baha Faisal hitting the bar, while Dang Van Lam proved to be Vietnam's hero, saving Ahmed Samir's effort.

Although Amer Shafi palmed away Tran Minh Vuong's attempt, substitute Bui Tien Dung then converted his penalty, sending his side through to a meeting with powerhouses Japan or Saudi Arabia, who play each other today, on Thursday.

In the later match, China beat Thailand 2-1. Supachai Jaided opened the scoring for the Thais in the 31st minute, but goals from Xiao Zhi and Gao Lin (penalty) in the second half saw the Chinese through to the quarter-finals.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

ASIAN CUP

Last 16:
Japan v Saudi Arabia (6.50pm)
Australia v Uzbekistan (9.50pm)
UAE v Kyrgyzstan (tomorrow, 12.50am)
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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 21, 2019, with the headline 'Vietnam and China through to quarter-finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe