Vietnam suffer extra-time defeat to Uzbekistan in AFC U23 final

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Vietnam's hearts were broken as Andrey Sidorov struck the winning goal in the final minute of extra-time to give Uzbekistan victory in a snowy AFC U23 Championship final in China. The Southeast Asian side had recovered from conceding an early goal to Rustamjon Ashurmatov's header as Quang Hai struck a superb free kick to level the score at 1-1. It remained deadlocked until the 119th minute, when Sidirov, who had just come on as a substitute, volleyed home from close range to seal the title for the Uzbeks. It was a painful blow for gallant Vietnam, who had upset the odds by emerging from their group ahead of Australia and Syria, before knocking out Iraq and Qatar in penalty shootouts to reach the final.
But Uzbekistan's route had been equally arduous and more stylish, seeing off China in the group stage before emphatic victories over Japan and South Korea. Although the pitch in Changzhou had been deemed playable, it was covered in snow, and it was difficult at times to see the Uzbek players in their white shirts against the surface. But Uzbekistan quickly settled and got their reward by taking an early lead. In the eight minute, Ashurmatov evaded his marker and powered home a header from Dostonbek Khamdamov's corner. The Vietnamese had their first effort on goal in the 15th minute, but Quang Hai's header was always going high. Uzbekistan remained in the ascendancy and Tien Dung managed to gather a deflected shot from Khamdamov at the second attempt.