Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam head coach Miguel Rodrigo said Uzbekistan is a strong team and his favourite rival in the quarter-finals of the Asian Football Confederation Futsal Championship today in Chinese Taipei.
The Spanish trainer added that his experienced and improved players had plans to beat the powerhouse to repeat Việt Nam’s success of making it to the top four in the previous tournament two years ago.
The Vietnamese squad bounced back from a disappointing loss to Malaysia in the group round to secure wins over Bahrain and hosts Chinese Taipei to finish on top of Group A.
Uzbekistan also suffered a defeat to Japan after beating South Korea and Tajikistan to stand second in Group B.
In their latest meet last September, Việt Nam was defeated 0-2 in the quarter-finals of the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan.
“In the Asian Indoor Games, they won and deserved it because they were superior. Either you win or lose; you get an experience, but every game is different,” Rodrigo said on the-afc.com.
“I believe experience is a key factor, especially in one of the key moments in a match. They are the favourites of this match, but we know how we need to play to win. We also need to play more than 100 per cent tomorrow, defend perfectly and play more effectively,” he said.
Uzbekistan’s line-up has almost no change compared to two years ago. They build up a tactic in which captain Artur Yunusov, former player of Việt Nam’s champions Thái Sơn Nam FC, is the centre of the team.
The Central Asian team has not created many chances to score during this tournament but they master in converting their free kicks into goals.
Rodrigo said Uzbekistan, which is home to good players, is the title favourite this event. He and his assistants spent a lot of time to study their playing style. His players were asked to improve their scoring skills and create pressure on the Uzbek side from the centre area. The keys of the match would be tight defence and accurate finishes.
Việt Nam also has difficulties with Chinese Taipei without their talented captain Trần Văn Vũ who is injured while key player Phạm Đức Hòa cannot take part in the coming match because of his yellow cards.
However, Rodrigo said if his players could overcome their challenge of nervousness and play in the Việt Nam spirit (referring to the U23 football team’s success recently) they would not scare any rival.
On the other side, coach Bakhodir Akhmedov wants to reach a better result than the past.
The team has finished runners-up four times and is yet to claim the title in the 15 times they have participated. Since 2001, they have always secured a slot in the quarter-finals.
“Our experience in the past helps every time but we need to forget about that result in Turkmenistan,” Akhmedov was quoted as saying on the-afc.com.
“Việt Nam has played well and confidently, so we need to give our best to get the win,” he added.
The former national team player also said his players made some mistakes during the group phrase but in the coming game such things should not happen again.
Captain Yusunov said his team targeted a berth in the final match so they were working hard to reach their goal.
Uzbekistan is No 27 in the world and No 6 in Asia while Việt Nam, whose best result was fourth in Asian championship, is No 42 in the world and No 10 in the continent.
The match of the two sides will be held from 6pm today and will be aired live on bongda24h.vn and Fox Sports.
The three other quarter-final matches are Lebanon vs Iraq, Japan vs Bahrain and Thailand vs defending champions Iran. — VNS