Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Quang Hải scored his first goal for the national team in Việt Nam’s 2-1 win over Cambodia in their third Group C match of the Asian Football Confederation Cup qualification in Phnom Penh yesterday.
The victory ended Việt Nam’s winless streak that saw the team finishing with draw and loss results in five matches in a row.
Việt Nam said goodbye to their head coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng after their unexpected defeat at the Malaysia SEA Games last month.
The team was being managed by acting coach Mai Đức Chung.
It took the visiting side just four minutes to find the opener at the Olympic Stadium, which lures nearly 50,000 spectators, most of whom were home supporters.
Midfielder Nguyễn Văn Quyết netted a close low shot into the far corner of goalkeeper Sou Yaty, who dived to his right but failed to block the ball.
However, the early goal did not help Việt Nam have a comfortable game against the hosts who created a lot of difficulties for their rivals in the remaining time.
Cambodia needed only six minutes to level the score, which was achieved by their very own ’Messi’ Chan Vathanaka.
Two Cambodians worked together in the box, which was watched by six Vietnamese players and goalie Đặng Văn Lâm.
Vathanaka sent his teammate’s pass to Lâm’s right corner and made his 12th goal for the national team.
After their goal, the Cambodians attacked strongly. They gave no chance to Việt Nam. Well-known Vietnamese striker Nguyễn Công Phượng was unable to reach his peak and was replaced in the second half.
Chung, who will return to work with the national women’s football team after this match, made several changes in the second half, including an unexpected replacement of Vũ Minh Tuấn.
Tuấn suffered a twisted ankle and had to leave the field, giving up his post to 19-year-old Hải, who made it 2-1 with an accurate header that could not be stopped, although he was only 1.68m, one of the shortest players for Việt Nam.
"It was a difficult match for Việt Nam, as we have never played on artificial grass before and had few days to become familiar with it. Tonight, we were against many Cambodian supporters," said Chung at the post-match news briefing.
"Cambodia are different now. They are much stronger than before. They created many challenges for us, but we found their weaknesses. Their left-wing defender often took part in the attacks, but they returned home slowly. Our first goal was made by exploiting this opportunity. Their mid-field was not strong enough, only two against Việt Nam’s five, so they could not resist our attacks," he said.
"Việt Nam were also not good today, but look at the overall result, we netted a win; it is what we need," he added.
With the win, Việt Nam improved their winning record over Cambodia to six matches. Việt Nam have never lost to Cambodia to date.
They jumped to the top position in the group with five points after three matches. Jordan are second with four points but have played only two games. They will play Afghanistan in the next match. Cambodia are third with three points.
Việt Nam will host Cambodia in their second leg match on October 10 at Hà Nội’s Mỹ Đình Stadium. — VNS