Việt Nam opens Asian Cup with victory

September 19, 2023 - 19:51
Young striker Nguyễn Quốc Việt stole the show with a brace, as Việt Nam won 4-2 against Mongolia in their opening match of the 2022 Asian Games


Đinh Xuân Tiến (11) and his team got the three points, but the victory was not without flaws. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Linh

Anh Đức

HANGZHOU The Việt Nam Olympic football team claimed their first win in Group B of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou on Tuesday.

An early brace from Nguyễn Quốc Việt and a goal from Khuất Văn Khang sealed three points for Hoàng Anh Tuấn's young stars. Võ Nguyên Hoàng added one more in the second half, before Temulen and Batmunkh got two back for Mongolia to cap off Việt Nam's 4-2 victory.

Việt Nam normally participate at the Asian Games with the Under-23s squad with around 2-3 overage players, but in this edition, Hoàng Anh Tuấn's players have the youngest average age, with most of the setup playing together with Tuấn since the AFC U20 Asian Cup in March.

In a group with Iran and Saudi Arabia, Việt Nam's game with Mongolia is regarded was a must-win. The men in white pushed forward early on, and got the opening goal in the third minute.

Capitalising from a mistimed clearance by Munkh-Orgil, Quốc Việt raced past the Mongolian defence and fired a shot through keeper Batmagnai's legs to bring Việt Nam 1-0 up.

Mongolia played a low-block defensive game after Việt Nam's opener, but could not stay strong for long. In the 32nd minute, Quốc Việt with time and space, fired a shot from around 20 metres, which was deflected by a Mongolian player into their own net.

Việt Nam found their third just minutes before the break. A high defensive line by Mongolia left spaces exposed in the back, where Khuất Văn Khang capitalised on a counter attack, and finished with a shot in the lower corner.

With three goals in the bag, Việt Nam slowed down play in the second half. However, complacency kicked in not long after the whistle, where substitute Nguyễn Thái Sơn lost possession in midfield, which led to a three-on-two attack from Mongolia, where Temulen's precise strike was too much for Quan Văn Chuẩn.

Mongolia's goal brought back confidence for the men in blue, and Hoàng Anh Tuấn sought to renew Việt Nam's attack, in hopes of putting the game to bed. Võ Nguyên Hoàng, the substitute, made Tuấn's wishes come true with Việt Nam's fourth goal in the 64th minute.

As the match came to an end, Việt Nam's defensive blunders cost them a second goal, after Văn Chuẩn's failed clearance allowed Batmunkh to tap in the empty net.

Splendid in attack but clumsy in defence, there is still lots to do for Hoàng Anh Tuấn and his men, before they face powerhouse Iran in their second match on Thursday. VNS