Nam Dinh takes U21 national football title

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Nam Dinh won the title of the Under-21 National Football Championship 2011 after beating hosts Binh Duong 5-4 in a final match penalty shootout on Sunday.

The heavy rain didn't prevent more than five thousand home fans from flocking to the Go Dau Stadium to support the home team in the final game of the 15th edition of the football event sponsored by Thanh Nien.

Addressing the crowd at the closing ceremony, Nguyen Cong Khe, chief of the tournament's organizing committee, said: "The 15th edition of the Thanh Nien-sponsored U21 National Football Championship has once again highlighted sportsmanship, which is what is essential in sports.

"The organizers of the event will always try to promote clean football at the U21 National Football Championship as well as the U21 International Football Championship, also sponsored by Thanh Nien, to contribute to improving the quality of Vietnamese football."

Bui Van Duc, Deputy General Director of Becamex, the main sponsor of the event, said, "The Thanh Nien-initiated U21 football competition has proven its value, prestige and attraction; so we will continue to sponsor it in the coming years if the conditions permit."

After the closing ceremony, the players of both teams started the ball rolling in a heavy rain. They were in high spirits and played fast. The hosts launched relentless attacks while the players from Nam Dinh proved that they deserved to be in the final match rather than by chance or luck.

Hosts Binh Duong took the lead midway through the first half after Ngoc Hung avoided the offside trap and beat Nam Dinh goalkeeper Tien Tao to score the opener.

Despite conceding the goal, Nam Dinh remained calm and tried to put pressure on the hosts' goal. Their renewed efforts resulted in an equalizer halfway through the second half after Anh Quang's header sent the ball to the back of Binh Duong's net.

No more goals were scored in regular and extra time, so the winners had to be decided in a penalty shootout. And hosts Binh Duong failed to win yet again, following up on their loss to Da Nang in the penalty shootout in the final of the U21 National Football Championship in 2009.

Outstanding players selected from the event will fly from Ho Chi Minh City to the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai to prepare for the upcoming U21 International Football Tournament.

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