Quang Hai’s stunning goal becomes icon of 2018 AFC U-23 Champs hinh anh 1Hai’s stunner in Vietnam’s final match against Uzbekistan in the AFC U23 Championship 2018

Hanoi (VNA) -
Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai’s fantastic goal ‘Rainbow in the Snow’ in the final between Vietnam and Uzbekistan in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship 2018 in China has been chosen as the most iconic goal of the tournament. 

After seven days of vote through the AFC website, Hai’s stunning free kick received 1,159,847 votes or 79.1 percent of the total ballots, winning by a landslide.

It was a long way ahead of Iran's Mahdi Torabi strike in a match against China in the group stage, which came second in the list with 298,037 votes.

The goal by Azizjon Ganiev in a semi-final between Uzbekistan and the Republic of Korea (RoK) earned the third spot. 

The recognition is hoped to be a great encouragement for Hai, who got injured at the 30th Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 30). Vietnam won the historic gold medal at the tournament.

Quang Hai’s stunning goal becomes icon of 2018 AFC U-23 Champs hinh anh 2Hai (R) celebrates his goal. (Source: AFC)

Hai’s goal brought back memories of historical and proud moments of Vietnam’s U23 in particular and the men’s football team in general at the continental tourney.

At the football event in China, the squad of Korean head coach Park Hang-seo worked consecutive miracles as it booked a spot in the AFC U23 Championship’s quarterfinals for the first time. 

Vietnam’s journey continued following their victories against Iraq in the quarterfinal and Qatar in the semifinal to reach the final.

As the AFC U23 Championship Thailand 2020 kicks off in less than a month, the AFC picked eight of the finest goals in the competition since the first edition in Oman in 2014 giving fans the chance to pick the best.

According to the AFC, while Uzbekistan won the tournament, Hai captured the imagination and his goal in the final – one of five superb goals by the midfielder during the tournament – provided one of the most iconic moments the competition has ever seen.

Earlier, the AFC also chose five memorable matches from the previous editions of the tournament including two matches of Vietnam.

The first was the match with Iraq in the quarter-finals in which Vietnam won 5-3 on penalties after the two sides tied 3-3 during 120 minutes.

The win saw millions of people take to the streets in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam's incredible quarter-final victory over Iraq captured the hearts of the ASEAN nation.

The remaining match was the historic final between Vietnam and Uzbekistan.

According to the AFC, a match that had everything including the iconic 'Rainbow in the Snow' goal went down in Vietnamese footballing folklore. It was the end of the remarkable campaign for the ASEAN country, which will live long in the hearts of their supporters, and it was a deserving finale to conclude a memorable tournament.

Vietnam’s U23 team was in Ho Chi Minh City for training before leaving for the event which is set to take place from January 8 to 26 next year. Vietnam are in Group D with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), Jordan and the UAE.

They are scheduled to play the UAE on January 10, Jordan on January 13 and the DPRK three days later.

Vietnam end 2019 as the Southeast Asian No 1 team in football, following the December rankings released by FIFA on December 19.

Vietnam gain 1,258 points to rank 94th in the world, marking their third time in a row on top of the region./.