HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam came from behind to draw 2-2 against Myanmar and make history at the AFC Women's Asian Cup at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, India, on Thursday.
The draw gave Việt Nam one point and place third in Group C. For the first time, they advance to the Cup's quarter-finals as one of two best third-placed teams.
Myanmar, needing a win to finish above Việt Nam, started the more aggressive of the two sides. They had their first threatening chance in the second minute after Tun Win Theingi’s threaded pass found Thaw Thaw, whose shot failed to trouble Việt Nam goalkeeper Trần Thị Kim Thanh.
The Southeast Asian champion Việt Nam came close to finding the net a minute later when Nguyễn Thị Mỹ Anh tried to test Myanmar goalie Nwe May Zin but her shot was denied by the crossbar.
Both two sides created opportunities with Nwe denying Vietnamese captain Huỳnh Như in the 13th, while Tun Win Theingi's header from inside the box was cleared away two minutes later.
Việt Nam, who have not lost to Myanmar in their last 13 meets, conceded the first goal when Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhã brought down an advancing Noe Khin Myat inside the box.
Tun Win Theingi made no mistake to open the scoring.
Việt Nam carried out more attacks and finally levelled the score just before the break.
Midfielder Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung repeated her amazing corner kick ability, which has made her famous all over the world, to beat Nwe.
Dung was highlighted in FIFA's article with her superlative technique by finding the back of the net from corner kicks twice, one with her left, one with right, in a single match during the Southeast Asian championship in 2015.
Myanmar went ahead just four minutes into the second half after Như and Dung both missed chances.
Tun Win Theingi set up Tun Khin Marlar, who found space before smashing her effort into the back of the net.
Việt Nam were given a penalty after Myanmar's Saw Thaw Thaw brought down Mỹ Anh inside the six-yard-box. And Như made no mistake from the penalty spot, sending Nwe the wrong way to level the tie for a second time.
"We met a lot of difficulties prior to this match. We could not set up our domination against Myanmar. Myanmar are really different and tougher compared to the team we played in the past. They have well prepared for this tournament," said Dung after the match.
"After conceding the first goal, we ask all members to play harder and push up the speed of the game. Luckily, I scored the levelling goal.
"Although we were left behind twice, we were still confident and we made it, levelling the result twice. We deserved to take the ticket to the knockout stage. We tried hard and I am proud of my teammates and happy to advance," Dung said.
In the other match of Group C, Japan tied South Korea 1-1 to take the top place. South Korea are second. Both of them also qualify for the last-eight round.
Việt Nam will play China, Group A's top team, on Sunday.
"China are on a different level with Việt Nam. But I think coach Mai Đức Chung will have a suitable tactic against them. The team might play in defence and open attacks when they have chances and try hard to save their net as well as possible," said former national striker Nguyễn Thị Minh Nguyệt.
"However, I still believe in luck. You see, Việt Nam was faced with a risk of being ousted from the tournament because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But finally, we make it and now advance to the next stage which was believed an impossible mission when the draw was conducted. The ball is round, and if it stands by our side, we may do something surprised on Sunday," said Nguyệt. — VNS
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