Memorable Matches from the AFC U23 Championship: Vietnam 1-2 Uzbekistan

 

The AFC U23 Championship, that began in 2014 as the AFC U-22 Championship, has been filled with fantastic fixtures and great games throughout the three editions of the tournament hosted so far in Oman, Qatar and China PR.

Here are five classics to enjoy and whet the appetite for the action to come at Thailand 2020.

Vietnam 1-2 Uzbekistan (AET) - 2018 Final

A match that had everthing including the iconic 'Rainbow In The Snow' goal that went down in Vietnamese footballing folklore. It was the end of the remarkable campaign for the ASEAN country, one which will live long in the hearts of their supporters, and it was a deserving finale to conclude a memorable tournament.

AFC U-23 CHAMPIONSHIP 2018 - VIETNAM vs UZBEKISTAN

In decidedly wintry conditions at the Changzhou Olympic Sports Center, it was Uzbekistan who controlled the early proceedings, and they duly took the lead on eight minutes when a poorly marked Rustamjon Ashurmatov headed home Khamdamov’s outswinging corner.

However, after seeing Azizjon Ganiev fire narrowly over, Vietnam drew level on the stroke of half-time. Nguyen Cong Phuong was brought down on the edge of the area, and from the resulting free-kick Nguyen Quang Hai superbly curled the ball past the despairing dive of Botirali Ergashev to register his fifth goal of the tournament - a moment of bright colour on the snowy backdrop.

In the last meaningful action of normal time, Zabikhillo Urinboev could, and very possibly should, have won the match for the Central Asians, but the striker inexplicably lashed his attempt from eight yards over the bar after Bui Tien Dung had parried Akramjon Komilov’s cross into his path.

Urinboev’s miss was to matter little in the end though, as Andrey Sidorov applied an expert finish to Dostonbek Khamdamov's last gasp corner at the end of additional time to seal the title for Uzbekistan and break Vietnamese hearts on a day of high drama.