Vietnam U23s narrowly defeated in penultimate friendly for Asian campaign

Friday, 2017-12-22 05:55:58
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Vietnam U23s (in red) play a good match against the ROK club. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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NDO – Vietnam’s U23 team were closely defeated 2-3 by Ulsan Hyundai FC from the Republic of Korea (ROK) in a friendly meeting at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium on December 21, which was the second-last clash for Park Hang-seo and his players as they prepare for their AFC U23 Championship campaign in China next month.

The match took place at lightning speed right from the first whistle. The fourth-placed team in the K-League 2017 demonstrated their superiority with a lineup of quality and skilful players, while Park chose the 4-5-1 starting lineup for Vietnam, with anticipated striker Cong Phuong as the attacking spearhead.

Ulsan Hyundai needed just 10 minutes to gain the upper hand against Vietnam, as Kim Seung Jun made light work of goalkeeper Van Hoang from the penalty spot to open the scoring for the ROK side, following defender Van Khanh’s infringement on Lee Yeong Jae in the box.

Vietnam U23s had hardly recovered, when Ulsan Hyundai doubled their advantages, with Kim In Sung receiving a long pass and breaking through Vietnam’s defence before firing an unstoppable shot into Van Hoang’s net.

The ROK side continued dominating the game for the remainder of the first half, as Vietnam strengthened their attacks seeking to equalise the score.

Six changes were made in the Vietnamese side after the interval as Coach Park Hang-seo tried to improve his team’s attacking abilities.

Just five minutes after appearing on the field, Van Toan pulled a goal back for Vietnam with a finish from a narrow angle, which gave a strong boost to his teammates’ determination and confidence.

Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong missed a threatening chance from just a few metres in front of the goalmouth.

Substitute Ha Duc Chinh missed a 75th-minute opportunity to score, but he finally lived up to expectations, breaking the offside trap and lofting the ball over the ROK keeper for an equaliser ten minutes later.

It would have been a perfect match for Vietnam U23s if it had not been for Kang Min-Soo’s brilliant finish in injury time.

Vietnam will play their final friendly match against Palestine on January 4 in Shanghai before they officially take part in the Asian tournament.

The AFC U23 Championship 2018 will take place in China from January 9 to 27. Vietnam were drawn in Group D, together with the ROK, Australia and Syria.