Cong Phuong rescues Vietnam in int’l football friendly

Thursday, 2017-03-23 04:32:27
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Players of the two teams compete for the ball.
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NDO—Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong came to the rescue for Vietnam as his late goal helped the host team walk away with a 1-1 draw against Chinese Taipei in an international football friendly at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on the evening of March 22.

Despite the lack of experienced veterans like Cong Vinh, Thanh Luong and Dinh Luat, the Nguyen Huu Thang side started the match with great confidence, which was inspired by Vietnam’s consecutive 2-1 and 4-1 victories in the last two meetings with Chinese Taipei.

Vietnamese players dominated ball possession, constantly keeping the ball on the guests’ field during the majority of the first half.

An array of scoring opportunities were created for Vietnam, but Cong Phuong, Tuan Tai and Trong Hoang failed to convert any of them into the opener before the break.

Both teams made lineup changes in the second half, seeking to smash the deadlock.

Coach Nguyen Huu Thang sent Van Toan onto the field in replacement of ineffective Trong Hoang. This adjustment almost paid off as the Hoang Anh Gia Lai forward moved smartly to pick up the cross beating Chinese Taipei’s entire defensive line; however, his final shot pitifully missed the target.

Meanwhile, the guests deployed the disturbing counterattack strategy, which proved effective in breaking the home side’s attacks.

With six minutes left to play, Vietnam had to pay sharp prices for their wastefulness during the match as defender Lee Pin-Hsien opened the scoring for the Kazuo Kuroda side with a quick touch into the net of goalkeeper Phi Minh Long.

After the sudden loss, the Vietnamese players turned up the pressure, seeking to equalise the score. Only three minutes later, forward Cong Phuong shone to secure a lucky 1-1 draw for the home side as his strike was suddenly deflected into the net after hitting the back of a guest defender.

The tie against Chinese Taipei can be considered an acceptable warm-up for Nguyen Huu Thang and his players ahead of their Group C campaign in the third qualifying round of the 2019 Asian Cup.

Accordingly, Vietnam will play Afghanistan on March 28 before taking on Jordan and Cambodia on June 13 and September 5, respectively, for the first leg. The second leg matches are scheduled on October 10, 2017 (Cambodia), November 14, 2017 (Afghanistan) and March 27, 2018 (Jordan).

Vietnamese players receive strong support from local fans at Hang Day Stadium. Photo: NDO/Tran Hai

Luong Xuan Truong (in red), the midfielder of Gangwon FC, is one of Vietnam's most active players during the match. Photo: NDO/Tran Hai

Van Toan (in red) misses a number of opportunities during the match. Photo: NDO/Tran Hai

Striker Cong Phuong (in red) rescues Vietnam from a loss against Chinese Taipei. Photo: NDO/Tran Hai