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Vietnamese women advance in Olympic football qualification

By Nhan Dat, Quang Dung   February 6, 2020 | 07:01 pm PT
A 1-0 victory against Myanmar on Thursday ensured Vietnamese women a spot in the 2020 Olympic football qualification playoffs.

With North Korea withdrawing from the tournament, group A only had three teams left – Vietnam, South Korea and Myanmar. Since South Korea had already got the ticket to the next round with two victories, the remaining spot was at stake in the crucial game between Myanmar and Vietnam, which was held at Jeju World Cup Stadium in South Korea.

Vietnam made their intent clear at the very beginning dominating the game and pushing Myanmar heavily into defending for the first 25 minutes. Vietnam then resorted to long-range attempts for an early goal, but could not pull it off.

Meanwhile, Myanmar launched a couple of sharp counterattacks in the first half, using the pace and mobility of the Nu Nu and Yee Yee Oo, who scored four goals in SEA Games last year. Despite having good wingers, though, Myanmar did not have a striker who could finish the counterattacks effectively.

Pham Hai Yen (number 12) during the match between Vietnam and Myanmar on February 6, 2020. Photo courtesy of Asian Football Confederation.

Pham Hai Yen (number 12) during the match between Vietnam and Myanmar on February 6, 2020. Photo courtesy of Asian Football Confederation.

In the second half, Myanmar pushed the formation higher as they sought goals for a must-win game after losing 0-7 to South Korea. It is when Myanmar began attacking that Vietnam saw counter openings. They produced two scoring chances very soon. Pham Hai Yen missed her shot and a powerful header by Huynh Nhu was kept out by the Myanmar custodian.

In the third chance of the second half, Vietnam got what they needed. From a cross by Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy on the left flank, 19-year-old Ngan Thi Van Su beat Myanmar defender Khin Myo Win in an aerial duel to open the scoreboard in the 62nd minute. The goal helped Vietnam play with greater comfort and greater accuracy although their strikers could have upped the score further.

Myanmar also have reason to be disappointed. Once they conceded a goal, they went all out, having nothing to lose. But just five minutes later, they could not convert their best scoring chance of the game with striker Yee Yee Oo unable to use a pass from her teammate to find the net.

With the victory, Vietnam got three points and +1 in goal difference to place second behind South Korea, who they will face in the last game. If Vietnam win, they will take the top spot in Group A.

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