HO CHI MINH CITY (2 Sept 2012) – Iran denied Vietnam further reasons to celebrate their National Day today when they beat the hosts 2-1 in the second game of the first match day of the AFF Under-19 Preparatory Tournament here at the Thong Nhat Stadium.
Today marked the 65th year of Vietnam’s independence.
But at the Thong Nhat Stadium, Iran would prove that they mean business as barely into the first minute of play, striker Sardar Azmoun blasted in the lead for the visitors from the edge of the box.
With the fans barely into their seat and the home team still looking to settle down, the early goal certainly did not sit well with their plans.
They tried hard to get back into the game but found Iran’s physique too hard to break down as play was restricted to mostly in the middle of the park.
In the 33rd minute, the game went up a notch as after a long cross from the back, Benham Barzay ran in with the ball before putting it past Vietnam keeper Nguyen Son Hai.
Two goals down and with nowhere else to go but forward, Vietnam soon strung passes together and as Iran became more brazen, the hosts finally scored their first goal in the game just before the break.
Off a long cross from Dao Duy Khanh, striker Phan Dinh Thang chipped the ball over the oncoming Iran keeper Hojjat Sedghi – much to the jubilation of the several thousand fans.
The second half was very much a carbon copy of the first with Vietnam more on the counter-attack to get the better of their much taller opponents. But with them unable to hold the ball for long periods, the loss of possessions was telling to their overall effort.
Iran’s best chance after the break came in the 67th minute but Azmoun totally fumbled his try while ten minutes to the end, Vietnam’s chance for an equalizer was denied by Hojjat.
In the meantime, Uzbekistan made it a battling win in their opening match of the tournament when they came back from behind to score a 2-1 victory over Australia in the game played earlier.
It was Uzbekistan who had created the early chances in the opening first quarter with captain Kozak Vladimir half volleying in the 15th minute before Sergeev Igor muffled a through ball at the half hour mark.
And while Australia were denied the lead when Daniel Petrovski’s attempt was cleared on the line, there was no stopping them from getting the first goal of the game in the 36th minute when Terry Antonis fired in the lead from some 25metres out.
With the score at 1-0 to Australia’s advantage at the break, they were just content to sit back and let Uzbekistan do the chasing for the first part of the second half.
Antonis had a double chance to put the game beyond doubt but his first attempt came off the woodwork while his second attempt was blocked by Uzbekistan keeper Amanov Asilbek.
The change for the nippy Abdul Aziz Yusupov in the second half would change the game and ultimately the result for Uzbekistan.
Abdul Aziz was giving the Australian defence a lot of problems with his prodding runs and in the 77th minute, he nailed the equalizer for Uzbekistan with a short flick off a cross from Muratov Azizbek.
And with Australia still not reacting, Uzbekistan nailed the winning goal right at the death when Abdumuminov Jahongir headed in a cross over Australian custodian Nicholas Munro.
AFF UNDER-19 PREPARATORY TOURNAMENT 2012
(All matches at the Thong Nhat Stadium)
2 Sept 2012: AUSTRALIA 1 UZBEKISTAN 2 / IR IRAN 2 VIETNAM 1
4 Sept 2012: Uzbekistan vs IR Iran (1600) / Vietnam vs Australia (1830)
6 Sept 2012: Australia vs IR Iran (1600) / Uzbekistan vs Vietnam (1830)
8 Sept 2012: 3rd Position vs 4th Position (1600) / Winner vs Runner-Up (1830)