SHAH ALAM – Vietnam boosted their chances of qualifying for the finals of the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-23 championship at the expense of Malaysia after winning their second qualifying round match, here last night.
An emphatic 7-0 victory over bottom side Macau has ensured they follow Japan into the final round after the latter had qualified with two wins in Group I action.
Vietnam, which is nicknamed ‘The Fiery Reds’, beat Malaysia 2-1 in their opening match last Friday, but lost 0-2 to Japan just two days later at the same venue while Malaysia who managed to beat Macau 2-0 need to beat Japan in their final group match.
Despite playing on a wet and soggy pitch due to heavy rain before the game, the Vietnamese side coached by Japan’s Toshiya Miura, adopted to the conditions well to strike as early as the third minute through Ho Ngoc Thang before striker Le Thanh Binh added the second just two minutes later.
Lethal striker Nguyen Cong Phuong added to the anguish of the Macau team with a third goal in the 19th minute before Thanh Binh added two more goals to complete his hattrick in the 21st and 43rd minutes.
Cong Phuong than took over the proceedings and scored his hattrick from the penalty spot in injury time of the first half and again in the final minute of the match.
Based on the format of the tournament, the 10 group winners and five best runner-up teams qualify for the final and join host Qatar who have automatically qualified by virtue of being the host.