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Striker Thanh outlines high expectations for 2012

Update: January, 30/2012 - 09:40

DA NANG — Striker Nguyen Ngoc Thanh of SHB Da Nang has said that he wants to beat his goal tally of seven last year and help his team to win the title this season.

After joining Da Nang on a three-year deal in 2011, Thanh contributed seven goals and numerous assists for teammate Gaston Merlo, helping his team finish third on 44 points.

In this year's Super League, undefeated Da Nang lead the table with seven points after three matches. Under coach Le Huynh Duc, the players are confident of fulfilling their ambitions of being crowned champions.

The 30-year-old is also hoping to take part in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Cup in Thailand and Malaysia this year.

"Having never competed at a regional tournament before, I hope I'm picked for the national team so I can help them succeed at the AFF Cup," he said.

Thanh was selected for the U23 team in 2005 to prepare for the Southeast Asian Games, but didn't have a chance to play due to an ankle injury.

In the 2008 V-League, Thanh was the country's top scorer with 12 goals for former team Hai Phong. His prolific record earned him a call-up by national team coach Henrique Calisto to prepare for the AFF Suzuki Cup, but following a difference of opinion, he was dropped.

Calisto's predecessor Falko Goetz recalled him to the national team for a 2014 World Cup qualifier against Macao, and he duly chipped in with a goal in the 6-0 victory.

Thanh started his career while he was studying at the HCM City's University of Technology.

In 2000, his goals helped the university club finish fourth in the city's Student Football Championship. He was invited to join the newly formed HCM City team by coach Dat Hung, and broke into the first team in his third year at university. Asked to choose between football and his studies, he eventually left his books behind to concentrate on his professional footballing career.

He scored his first goal for HCM City Police FC in a 1-2 loss to LG.HN.ACB at the Ha Noi's Hang Day Stadium in 2011.

Thanh signed with Hai Phong the same year and spent six seasons there. In his last match against Becamex Binh Duong, he scored in a 2-1 win, helping Hai Phong finish second in the league in 2010. — VNS

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