11:01 | 23/05/2017 Sports
Vietnam held New Zealand to a goalless draw in the FIFA U20 World Cup Group E opener on May 22, thereby maintaining their hopes to advance further in the world’s largest football event.
With the fanatical support of the crowd and overseas Vietnamese at Cheonan Stadium in the Republic of Korea, Vietnam played an overwhelming first half against the representative from Oceania.
The Southeast Asian team produced 11 finish attempts with five shots on target; but unluckily, none of them were cunning or powerful enough to be converted into a goal for coach Hoang Anh Tuan’s side.
After the break, New Zealand took advantage of their physical strength to reclaim control of the match and increased pressure on the Vietnamese side. However, Vietnam’s concentrated and solid defence left little chance for the opponents to produce any remarkable threats.
The most concrete scoring opportunity for New Zealand came from substitute Logan Rogerson’s close-range strike that failed to beat Vietnamese keeper Tien Dung.
Vietnam should have come away with the full three points as Hoang Duc struck over the crossbar with four minutes to play despite facing an empty net.
Vietnam and New Zealand will now join each other in second place of Group E with one point each, two points behind title favourites France, who made light work of Honduras with a 3-0 straight win.
Despite missing out on a victory, a draw could be considered an encouraging result for a World Cup debutant like Vietnam. In the remaining group matchups, Vietnam will play France on May 25 before competing against Honduras three days later.