2020 AFC U23 Championship qualification - Group K

Vietnam U23s aim for full three points against Brunei U23

Friday, 2019-03-22 14:54:31
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Vietnam U23s players during their last training session on March 21, a day ahead of the opener of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualification - Group K encounter against Brunei U23s. (Photo: VOV)
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NDO – With determination to win Group K to earn a direct ticket to the 2020 AFC U23 Championship finals, the first task of the Vietnam U23 team is to win the full three points in the opening match of the qualification stage against Brunei U23s at Hanoi’s My Dinh stadium tonight.

>>> Vietnam determined to secure place in 2020 AFC U23 finals

Against underdogs Brunei, reigning AFC U23 runners-up Vietnam target a win by a large margin to gain an advantage ahead of the key match with Indonesia U23s on the next match day.

After a thorough preparation period, Vietnam’s coach Park Hang-seo has a relatively strong squad in hand, with the combination of key players who booked a berth at the final of the previous tournament in China in 2018, along with promising new faces.

In their opening match tonight, it is likely that the hosts will play with the familiar 3-4-3 formation that has brought success for Park and his Vietnamese teams at both young and senior levels for over a year.

In the defensive line, the presence of goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung is a certainty, because compared to his two other teammates in the same position, Dung is the most experienced player who showed his excellence at the Chinese tournament in 2018.

The three defenders in front of goalie Tien Dung will be strengthened with the return of Dinh Trong after an injury. However, the possibility of the Hanoi FC’s player starting the match tonight is unlikely, as he has not fully recovered, although Trong joined his team to practice at My Dinh yesterday. Therefore, it is likely that Dinh Trong's teammate at Hanoi FC, Nguyen Thanh Chung, will be given a start, in addition to the presence of Vietnam Olympic team’s player at the 2018 Asian Games, Huynh Tan Sinh and the senior team’s defender Ho Tan Tai.

On either side of the wing, the position of left-back will definitely belong to Doan Van Hau. Also on the right wing, U23 team’s vice-captain, Nguyen Hoang Duc or Thai Quy are both good choices.

Coach Park Hang-seo and his players are ready for a new challenge at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualification. (Photo: VOV)

The midfield will also see changes because almost all of Vietnam U23s midfielders at this tournament are new compared to the U23 squad a year ago. Having showed their ability in a 6-1 win over Chinese Taipei in a friendly a few days ago, vice-captain Thanh Son and Hoang Anh Gia Lai’s midfielder Trieu Viet Hung will be likely granted a start.

In the attacking line, surely star Nguyen Quang Hai will start from the beginning in the position of shadow striker on the right wing. A few days ago, the team’s captain made Park worry as he suffered a light pain and had to retire, but fortunately Hanoi FC’s midfielder has recovered completely in time.

As striker Tien Linh had to say goodbye to his teammates due to an injury, the highest position on the attack line is likely to belong to Ha Duc Chinh, thanks to his experience compared to the other rookies. Partnering with Duc Chinh may be Dinh Thanh Binh, as the striker of Hoang Anh Gia Lai netted a brace in the 6-1 victory against Chinese Taipei U23s recently. In addition, the striker born in 2000, Tran Danh Trung, or striker Le Xuan Tu, who scored the only goal to help Vietnam U22s win the bronze medal at the AFF U23 Championship in February, may have opportunities to start.

Brunei have never been an adequate rival of Vietnam at any team level. Therefore, the goal of Park’s side will be a resounding victory to earn an advantage before the two do-or-die games against Indonesia U23s and Thailand U23s later.