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Delay Threat Still Looms Over AFC U-23 Final as Heavy Snow Blankets China

There’s still a chance that heavy snowfall might affect the schedule of today’s Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 final match.

As Tuoi Tre reports, this morning, January 27, it started snowing heavily again in Changzhou, the Chinese city not far from Shanghai where today’s game will take place at 3pm, according to a newspaper correspondent based the city. This is one of the worst winters in the prefecture-level city in the last 10 years, with current temperatures as low as -2oC.

The new source shares that after conditions worsened this morning, the tournament organizer sent a memo to the two national teams asking that fans keep their tickets in case the game is delayed.

In a call with Thanh Nien, General Secretary of the Vietnam Football Federation Le Hoai Anh said that Vietnam’s national U-23 team is still prepared to face Uzbekistan today no matter what.

“Until now, we haven’t received the notice to postpone the match from the organizer and AFC. Thus, Vietnam is still prepared to start the game as usual,” Anh elaborated. “Only in case the referee requests that the match be cancelled, we will comply. Anyway, we’re quite worried.”

He added: “I recently met with the head of the match organizing committee from AFC [this morning] who said that they haven’t decided whether to delay the match. If anything, the final decision will be made closer to the kickoff time at 3pm.”

This is not the first time rumors of a postponement have surfaced. Two days ago, Changzhou also experienced heavy snowfall, forcing Vietnam’s U-23 team to move to an indoor basketball court for their pre-final practice. Their Uzbek counterparts, however, were nonchalant, as they’re used to wintry weather at home.

Park Hang-seo, the head coach of Vietnam’s U-23 team, also commented on this during a press conference held yesterday.

“This is also the main difference [between the two teams] regarding acclimating to the local weather. Southeast Asian players are not used to such harsh weather,” Hang-seo elucidated. “Before going to China, we knew that the elements will not be our ally. My athletes will be weakened if exposed to frigid weather for a long time. We didn’t expect the temperature to be this cold.”

It’s unclear at the moment if the weather at the stadium will improve enough for the match to happen as planned. However, if things go according to plan, here are some ways to watch the action live in Saigon:

In public

The HCMC Youth Cultural House

4 Pham Ngoc Thach, D1

CGV and BHD Cinemas

Click here to check if you favorite cineplex will broadcast the match.

Nguyen Hue Walking Street

Saigon authorities have installed 10 seven-meter-tall screens to allow pedestrians to watch the match.


At home

You can watch the final match live online through VTV2 or VTV6 (alternate links: here and here)

[Photo via Tuoi Tre]

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