11 Sep Guam, Singapore settle with 1-1 draw in AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers
[September 11, 2023 – Harmon, Guam] Increased confidence and a better mindset made the difference in Guam’s overall improved performance in Day 2 of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ Qualifiers as the team forced a 1-1 draw with Singapore at the Viet Tri Stadium Saturday in Vietnam.
“The team had a better mindset in this second match with a revamped approach to this tournament with the belief to be ‘less impressed, more involved’ … not thinking we don’t belong here, but being more confident in our abilities,” said Dominic Gadia, Guam U23 Head Coach. “Despite the improvement over two matches, we were disappointed overall with the result in this second match as we believed we could have won. We didn’t showcase our best football abilities.
“For the next match we have in this tournament against Yemen, we’ll need to build off learning moments from the first match, incorporate the winning mindset of the second match, and top off with better execution of our playing philosophy and our game plan,” Gadia added.
After over a 60-minute deadlock, Singapore struck first, netting a penalty kick in the 63rd minute. Later in the match, a header from 17-year-old Riku Meyar off an Oz Rocca long throw-in equalized the match in the 89th minute. Meyar later helped defend on the opposite end of the pitch, clearing the ball off the goal line following a Singapore corner kick play in the waning minutes of the match to keep the 1-1 score until the final whistle.
Guam opened the tournament Sept. 6 with a 6-0 loss to host country Vietnam, two-time defending U23 champions of Southeast Asia, and Yemen opened with a 3-0 win over Singapore. In Saturday’s doubleheader, Guam and Singapore battled to a 1-1 draw and Vietnam earned another clean sheet with a 1-0 win over Yemen.
While Vietnam has already clinched the No. 1 spot of the group with two wins in two matches, all three remaining teams – including Guam – have an opportunity to finish in the group’s second spot. The top teams from each of the qualification tournament’s 11 groups and the four best second-place teams will advance to the final round of the tournament, which serves as qualification into the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France. Qatar automatically will appear the final round of the AFC tournament as the final-round hosts. Asia has three slots in the men’s football competition of next year’s Olympic Games.
Guam had several fans at the Viet Tri Stadium to witness the 1-1 draw with Singapore, including parents and other family members of players.
“We appreciate all the support from the families and friends who attended the match and we hope to give a good performance for everyone who supports us,” Gadia said.
Guam’s match against Yemen will kick off at 4 p.m. local time (7 p.m. Guam time) Tuesday, Sept. 12 at the Viet Tri Stadium. Singapore will play against Vietnam the same day at 7 p.m. local time (10 p.m. Guam time). The Vietnam Football Federation is live streaming all of the matches on its official YouTube page, VFF Channel.
Guam’s Oz Rocca controls the ball facing defensive pressure from Singapore’s Jordan Efa Emaviwe in a Match Day 2 fixture of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ Qualifiers at the Viet Tri Stadium in Vietnam Saturday. Guam was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Football Federation (VFF)
Guam’s Riku Meyar attempts to stop Vietnam’s Vo Hoang Minh Khoa and gain possession of the ball in an opening Match Day fixture of the AFC U23 Asian Cup Qatar 2024™ Qualifiers at the Viet Tri Stadium in Vietnam Sept. 6. Guam fell to the two-time defending Southeast Asia U23 champions 6-0. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Football Federation (VFF)