Tien Linh’s brace earns Vietnam U22s 2-0 triumph over China U22s in friendly

Monday, 2019-09-09 09:06:09
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Vietnam grab a convincing win over hosts China at Huangshi Olympic Sports Centre in China on Sunday. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
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NDO – Becamex Binh Duong striker Nguyen Tien Linh shined with a double to help Vietnam U22s beat hosts China U22s in a friendly match at the Huangshi Olympic Sports Centre in Huangshi city, Hubei province, on September 8.

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Back from Vietnam’s goalless draw with Thailand’s national team in the FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifiers on September 5, Linh, who is also a member of the Vietnam senior team, scored in the 18th and 58th minutes, respectively, to give coach Park Hang-seo a meaningful victory over his former mentor Guus Hiddink.

The Korean tactician was former no. 1 assistant to Hiddink when he was head coach of the Republic of Korea (ROK) national team back to 2002. The duo took co-hosts ROK to a historic 4th-place finish at the 2002 World Cup. But now Park is the coach of Vietnam U22s and he faced his former mentor in a top coaching position for the first time in last night’s match, as the Dutch strategist leads China U22s.

As part of the preparation for the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the end of the year, Park sent his best squad onto the field in China, in which it is worth noting that the two wingers Thanh Thinh and Tan Tai were the key to Vietnam U22s’ attacks.

However, the visitors soon suffered a loss when Trong Dai was suddenly injured in the 16th minute, forcing coach Park to field in substitute Thai Quy. Despite the change in their squad, Vietnam still maintained control of the game, with captain Trieu Viet Hung leaving a strong impression in the midfield.

Tien Linh (L) scores a brace in the match at Huangshi Olympic Sports Centre in China on Sunday. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)

In the 18th minute, Viet Hung launched an attack in the midfield, passing the ball to Tan Tai. The winger had a clever move from the right to break into the box before passing to his Binh Duong’s teammate, Tien Linh. The striker skilfully looped the ball over keeper Chen Wei’s head to win the opener for Vietnam.

China U22s with prominent physique faced a lot of difficulties in finding their way into the visitors’ goal as they had no idea how to break Vietnam’s solid three-man defensive line. All the hosts could manage in the first half were sporadic attacks that were easily broken before approaching Vietnam’s box.

After the break, Park decided to change his squad and gave nine other young substitutes opportunities to show their skills on the field. However, Vietnam continued to dominate the game and Hong Phuoc missed two chances to double the score but just before the hour mark, Linh scored again to make it 2-0. Tan Tai once again showed his danger on the right wing as his speed beat a Chinese defender, before firing a through pass for Tien Linh to simply tap in the empty net and double the gap for the visitors.

Becamex Binh Duong’s duo Ho Tan Tai (No. 4) and Nguyen Tien Linh (No. 9) were key players in Vietnam U22s 2-0 triumph of over hosts China U22s on Sunday. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)

Attempts to change the situation by former Chelsea manager Hiddink, repeatedly sending new faces on the offensive line to the field, did not help the home team play better. The monotonous gameplay and lack of vitality was noticeable in China U22s performance. It was also necessary to mention the relatively tight covering and solid defending from Vietnam U22s. Park’s side held on to win 2-0 after over 90 minutes of the game.

It is an impressive victory for Vietnam U22s. The most important thing is Park will have his own assessment for each player to serve the upcoming SEA Games campaign. He also expressed his pleasure that his side played well against strong opponents.

“Actually, we have just focused on training for several days and the main purpose is still to select players to prepare for the SEA Games. Today we won but the most important meaning is that we have seen many players in the team play better than expected. I am satisfied with that," Park said in a post-match press brief.

Park Hang-seo and his former mentor Guus Hiddink after the match. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)

Park also said that the match’s results did not say anything because many key players were absent from the Chinese squad. “As it is a single friendly match, it is impossible to judge exactly what is going on. In today's match, the Chinese team dominated the ball possession. As for us, we have implemented tight defensive tactics and made use of any opportunity to launch counterattacks. It can’t be said that we are a better team. We are still in the process of selecting players and training them for the next SEA Games,” said Park.

For his part, Hiddink said the friendly match against U22 Vietnam was a good match and his players certainly learned a lot. He vowed to spend more time to fix errors and make progress for China U22s.

Park Hang-seo satisfied with his side’s performance in the 2-0 win over China U22s. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)

Both Vietnam and China are preparing for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship to be held in Thailand in January next year. Vietnam are also getting ready for the upcoming SEA Games to be held in the Philippines in November this year.