|Viet Nam's Under-23 football team defeated Brazil's Santos U23 squad 3-1 in the second match of the HCM City Challenge Cup yesterday at the Thong Nhat Stadium.— Photo HNM
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam's Under-23 football team defeated Brazil's Santos U23 squad 3-1 in the second match of the HCM City Challenge Cup yesterday at the Thong Nhat Stadium.
Le Van Thang of Viet Nam added two goals to the scoreboard with Vietnamese forward Mac Hong Quan pocketing his own for the match. Santos's only goal belonged to Pedro Silva in the final moments of the match.
The host team appeared bolstered by a 2-1 victory over Galatasaray two days earlier, launching a strong attack on their big-form rivals.
Six minutes into the match, team member Nguyen Van Quyet failed to establish an early lead, sending the ball wide.
Santos performed below expectations with players struggling to find an early rhythm, while the host team dominated possession.
The Vietnamese defender cruised through the match with a seemingly effortless goal at the 43rd minute.
Taking possession from a counter-attack, Quyet cleared Santos defenders to reach Thang in the box.
Thang was face-to-face with goalkeeper Gabriel Gasparotto, netting the ball in the high right corner.
Santos played with 10 men from the 59th minute after Mascos Damiao was sent off for intentionally stamping on the chest of Vietnamese midfielder Manh Dung.
Viet Nam failed to capitalise on the uneven match-up in team numbers, struggling as Santos rebounded with a strong counter-attack. However, the team failed to narrow the score as the forward line failed to find form.
Coach Hoang Van Phuc opted to strengthen his attack, fielding Quan and Ha Minh Tuan at the 78th minute.
The changes quickly paid off four minutes later as Thang nabbed his second goal of the match, set up by teammate Quyen.
Host players faltered as full time approached, with a momentary lapse giving Pedro a chance to land a free kick past goalkeeter Nguyen Manh, after the ball rebounded off a Vietnamese defender.
Substitute Quan siezed the chance to seal the victory only moments before the final whistle.
It is the team's fifth win out of six recent matches in preparation for the SEA Games.
The team will represent Viet Nam at the 27th Games in December and will attend a 12-day training course in Myanmar early next month. They will compete with the host U23 team before the Games officially kick off.
Returning from Myanmar, the U23s will compete in the Binh Duong Television Cup, an annual international football tournament. — VNS