|Main man: Viet Nam's Nguyen Cong Phuong (left) seen during a friendly match against Myanmar. Phuong will be a player to watch in a match between the local U23 squad versus Japanese Cerezo Osaka FC at Ha Noi's Hang Day Stadium today. — Photo laodong.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Coach Kazuhiro Murata of Cerezo Osaka FC of said his players would keep their eyes on Viet Nam U23 player Nguyen Cong Phuong during their friendly match today at Hang Day stadium.
Murata said at a press briefing yesterday that he knew very little about the host team but saw many posters of Phuong on Ha Noi streets. He determined that Phuong, who will play for Mito HollyHock in J.League 2 next season, would be Viet Nam's danger man.
The Japanese also praised Toshyia Miura – coach of Viet Nam – who coached in the J.League in the past.
Murata said he knew that under Miura Viet Nam's national teams have achieved little success and he was excited to compete against his fellow-countryman.
Cerezo Osaka came to Ha Noi with a squad of 16 players, most them from the youth team.
Murata said two thirds of the U23 team will be key first team players in the next few years.
Defender and captain Daiki Kogure and striker Taiga Maekawa had the brightest futures, according to the coach.
Murata said in general the host team had hard-working players with good speed. He also said the coming match would be hard for the young visitors who had just finished their J.League 2 season.
Cerezo Osaka finished fourth in the league table with 82 points. They lost in the play-off match vying for promotion to J.League 1 next season.
On the hosts side, Miura said he was pleased that his players have another match during their preparations for the Asian U23 Football Championships in Qatar. It would be an important and necessary activity ahead of such a tough competition.
He said the Japanese club's young players would be a good test for his team because they would play with passion and strong driving force.
In Qatar, Viet Nam would compete with rivals like that so the Vietnamese would learn a lot in this match.
Miura said he after testing two tactics during training he found what he needed for todays match.
Players who experienced the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian U23 Championship qualifiers such as Phuong, Nguyen Van Toan and Do Duy Manh would receive a berth in the first team squad.
However he confirmed that the result of the game was not important because there were a lot of changes in his team after some key players suffered injures in previous tournaments so he had to mix the team up looking for suitable replacements. What he cared about was the players' spirit and performance.
The friendly match will be live aired from 6pm on VTV6 channel. — VNS