Quang Hai’s double gives Vietnam U-23’s first win at Thai tournament
Saturday, 2017-12-09 14:23:16
NDO – The Vietnam national U-23 football team earned victory in the opening match of the Thai M-150 International Friendly Football Tournament, trouncing Myanmar U-23 4-0 in Buriram, Thailand, on late December 9.
The convincing win saw midfielder Quang Hai shine, scoring a double within just 21 minutes of the first half, while crowd-favourite striker Cong Phuong also impressed with two assists and one goal.
This was also the first match with the U-23 team by head coach Park Hang-seo. The Republic of Korea trainer considers the Thai tournament as a test to evaluate his squad and the tactical system that his team have been working on since Park was named the head coach of Vietnam’s men’s national football team, U-23 team and Olympic team in October 2017.
Without hesitation, Vietnam bombarded Myanmar’s goal immediately following the first whistle. In the 26th second, Cong Phuong had a golden chance to test goalkeeper Sann Sat Naing after receiving a pass from his teammate Van Toan, however the No. 10 striker’s finish missed the target by inches.
After the near miss, Vietnam U-23 found the opener in the 12th minute, thanks to Quang Hai. Collecting Cong Phuong’s pass, the No. 19 midfielder curled a shot with his left foot into the top corner to give Vietnam the lead. Nine minutes later, Hai again curled another superb left-foot finish from a distance of 25 m, beating the Myanmar U-23 goalie for a second time. Once again, the creator for Hai’s second goal was Cong Phuong.
In the first match to get acquainted with the new 3-4-4 lineup, Vietnam's defensive line made several mistakes. However, Myanmar were unable to alter the scoreboard in the first half.
The two goal lead helped coach Park to comfortably test his new tactics in the second half. Vietnam U-23 slowed the game down but didn’t allow their opponents to have more space to attack.
In a 65th minute counter-attack, Van Thanh’s pass found Van Long, who was on as a substitute for Quang Hai in the 54th minute. The No. 16 player took the golden chance to widen the gap to 3-0 for Vietnam U-23. Five minutes later, it was Cong Phuong turns as his decisive shot made it 4-0 for the Red-shirts.
The victory puts Vietnam on top of Group B, which also includes Myanmar and Uzbekistan. Myanmar will face Uzbekistan on December 11, and the latter will play Vietnam two days later. In their final match of the group stage, Vietnam will need at least a draw with Uzbekistan to progress to the final match.
According to the draw, Group A consists of Japan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and hosts Thailand. After the Vietnam-Myanmar clash, the second match of the tournament saw Thailand play Japan.
The top two teams in each group will enter the final match on December 17 to compete for a prize of US$20,000. The international friendly tournament is considered as a chance for the participants to hone their skills before competing at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation U-23 Championship, scheduled in China next month.