Than Quang Ninh (TQN) and Khatoco Khanh Hoa (KKH) advanced to the semifinals of the 16th edition of the Thanh Nien-sponsored U21 National Football Championship in Ninh Thuan after Sunday wins.
TQN dethroned Nam Dinh 2-1 to top Group B with seven points while KKH beat Dong Tam Long An (DTLA) 1-0 to win the second place with four points.
TQN just needed a draw to book a semifinal berth, so they played cautiously while Nam Dinh looked dispirited, and the first half ended without a goal.
Nam Dinh was in a more difficult situation right after the break when Nguyen Canh Duong scored the opener for TQN.
Nam Dinh coach Tran Nam Long improved the team with some substitutions and Nam Dinh played better but they could not score the leveler until two minutes from full time before Tran Van Phong doubled the score for TQN in the final minute.
Explaining the reason for being dethroned in the group stage, Coach Long said some of his favorites suffered injuries while preparing for the event and he didn't have the best team.
KKH was in a more difficult situation. They tried very hard in the fight against DTLA, knowing they and DTLA would have been disqualified if Nam Dinh beat TQN.
When they learned that TQN was leading, they tried harder and their great efforts earned them a win with a goal by Trong Phi midway through the second half.
In the semifinals, KKH will clash with host Ninh Thuan on Tuesday and TQN will fight against Song Lam Nghe An on Wednesday.