Southeast Asia

Vietnam Advance as Malaysia, Indonesia Prepare for Challenge at Asian Games

Vietnam has progressed to the quarter-finals of the Asian Games men’s football tournament for the first time in their nation’s history with a 1-0 victory over Bahrain on Thursday evening. A goal from Nguyen Cong Phuong was enough to see the South-East Asian outfit into the last eight, as the striker added a second to his tally after already finding the net against Pakistan on the opening day.

The AFC U23 Championship runners-up will face Syria in the next round after they beat fellow Middle-Eastern side Palestine by the same scoreline.

Elsewhere, South Korea’s hopes of defending their Asian Games crown were kept alive after goals from Hwang Ui-Jo and former Barcelona youth academy star Lee Seung-Woo were enough to see them progress against Iran. They will face AFC U23 Champions Uzbekistan in what is shaping up to be the most exciting tie of the last eight.

Malaysia and Indonesia are in action tonight when they take on Japan and the UAE respectively. Hosts Indonesia will be looking to overcome a poor record against Middle-Eastern sides when they take on the Emiratis, hoping that home advantage will allow them to turn the tide of poor results.

Japan’s youthful squad take on a Malaysia side full of ambition and belief after their shock 1-0 victory over South Korea in the second round of group games. Coach Ong Kim Swee will be hoping that a 3-2 loss to Bahrain with the side’s second-string players will not have disrupted the momentum from their earlier game. Breakout star Safawi Rasid and captain Badrol Bakhtiar will need to be at their best if the South-East Asian team wish to progress, as the Samurai Blues remain one of the favourites to win the competition despite finishing second in their group.