|Long shots: Vietnamese players walk off the field after their match against Japan during the AFC U-23 Championship qualifier on Sunday. They have practiced hard for their match against Macau in the last Group I encounter today in Malaysia. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — Manager Toshiya Miura has urged Vietnamese players to practice on their straight shots to prepare for their match against Macau today during the AFC U23 Championship qualifier in Malaysia.
During most of their practise session yesterday, the players trained to manage the ball obstacles during passes with high speed before netting the target from a distance of 20m.
This was one of the exercises done to ensure that Viet Nam side could score numerous goals against Macau during the last match of the Group I.
It was not a surprise that Miura would use his best players for the decisive game. However, the Japanese coach could not pick his favourite striker Vo Huy Toan, who had suffered a leg injury last week.
After a test yesterday, doctors said Toan was recovering well, but could not be part of the team today.
Toan had scored a goal during Viet Nam's 2-1 win over hosts Malaysia on Friday.
Substitute Pham Duc Huy will replace him to guard the left wing of the Vietnamese team. As per the rules, the 10 group winners and five best second-placed teams would join hosts Qatar during the final round.
The only way for Viet Nam to advance is to beat Macau with a lot of goals and then await the results of the other group matches.
Miura said Viet Nam had to be really careful because Macau have shown with their formance against Malaysia on Sunday that they are no pushovers.
After losing to Japan 0-2 on Sunday, Viet Nam are at a disadvantage with only three points and a goal difference of -1.
The team are temporarily at the No 9 spot among the nine second-placed teams. The current top five are Indonesia, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Thailand and Myanmar. They all have six points each and a good goal difference.
On the Macau side, coach Tam Iao San revealed that his team had recruited student players, who have no competitive experience. The tournament was a chance for them to improve their skills.
In fact there are several players, who are competing in their national championship Liga de Elite, such as goalie Ho Man Fai, defender Man Chan, mid-fielders Hou Fai Tang and Ho Chi Fong.
Macau have lost all the previous matches, scored no goal and are currently placed at the bottom of the table.
Coach San said despite the losses, he was still happy because his players had learnt many thing.
Talking about the game today, San said there were many difficulties ahead as Viet Nam had a good striker (referring to Nguyen Cong Phuong) and many quality defenders.
The match will be aired live at 4pm on the K+ and VTV6 channels. — VNS