|Việt Nam’s Nguyễn Công Phượng runs away from Chinese Taipei’s players during their friendly match in Hà Nội on Wednesday. — VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam wasted many chances and ended with a 1-1 draw in a friendly match against Chinese Taipei on Wednesday in Hà Nội.
Lee Pin-hsien opened the score in the 84th minute for the visitors and Nguyễn Công Phượng levelled for Việt Nam four minutes later.
As the hosts with strong support from local fans, Việt Nam set up their domination from the beginning, while Chinese Taipei, considered the weaker team, tried to play a defensive game.
Just five minutes into the game Tuấn Tài was in a one-one position with goalkeeper Chiu Yu-hung after a long pass from the left. However, Chiu reacted rapidly to save his net.
Later, midfielder Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng also tested Chiu’s talent, but his finish was not difficult enough for an opener.
Hoàng nearly scored a goal for the hosts near the end of the first half but his header was rejected by the cross bar.
His teammates, Đinh Thanh Trung and Văn Thanh, also missed their chances as Chiu was at his peak during the game. The 22-year-old goalie performed well, closing all ways that led to his net.
Coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng made changes to strengthen his front line in the second half. His favourite striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn and midfielder Nguyễn Phong Hồng Duy were put on the field.
Việt Nam continued to attack strongly, while Chinese Taipei pushed their speed up but neither scored.
Duy made his mark with a threatening opportunity at the 82nd minute, but his shot in a comfortable situation went wide.
Chinese Taipei, who made less attempts during the match, found their goal two minutes later.
Lai Chih-hsuan received a ball in the box and passed it to Lee, who stood freely near the left post of Vietnamese goalkeeper Phí Minh Long. The midfielder had no better chance to score.
It was a shock for Việt Nam who beat Chinese Taipei in two recent meets.
The hosts reorganised their team and tried to score an equaliser.
A long ball was kicked from the home side’s area to start an attack heading to Chinese Taipei’s box. Defender Hung Tzu-Kuei headed it out but unfortunately, he gave the ball to striker Lê Công Phượng, whose immediate shot touched Hung’s back and changed direction to enter the net. Keeper Chiu tried, but could not block the ball.
“I am worried about the front line,” said coach Thắng at the post-match briefing.
“If I have Quyết and Tuấn, it will be different. We can take the game right in the first half.”
Thắng played this game without forwards Nguyễn Văn Quyết and Vũ Minh Tuấn, who asked to be excused as they were busy with their clubs.
“But through this game we will know how good they are. In the next few games, when the absentees join us I am sure that the scoring will be much better.”
However, Thắng is still satisfied with his young players, saying that they tried hard and created many chances. Some of them were young and were playing in the national team for the first time. They needed time to improve.
The former national defender praised a goal by Phượng, which according to him was a super goal.
The match is a warm-up for both two sides who will take part in their last qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup.
Việt Nam will travel to Dushanbe, Tajikistan, on Friday, to play Afghanistan in the Group C match three days later.
Chinese Taipei will welcome Turkmenistan on Sunday. — VNS