|A step ahead: Vietnamese striker Nguyễn Công Phượng (left) gets away from Uzbek player during their M-150 Cup match. Uzbekistan won 2-1. — VNS Photo Tuấn Tú|
HÀ NỘI — Former national coach Mai Đức Chung said it was a ’good’ defeat for Việt Nam’s U-23 team who lost 1-2 to Uzbekistan during their M-150 Cup match yesterday in Thailand.
Chung, who left his post in October to focus on the women’s team, meant that it would help both players and coaches of the squad to find out and fix their weaknesses ahead of their Asian Championship next January.
In yesterday’s game, coach Park Hang-seo used the 3-4-3 formulation which is very new to Việt Nam. Players did not seem to work fluently, especially the defenders, leading to their loss.
Đỗ Duy Mạnh, a member of the national team and key player of Hà Nội FC, made mistakes in both goals.
Both, players and coaches, knew that Uzbeks were taller and bigger than the Vietnamese and would create a lot of challenges. However, Việt Nam did not meet any difficulty in the first 30 minutes when they set up a better situation with more attacks and on-target finishes.
But it was the Uzbeks who opened the score from a simple counter-attack.
Abdixolikov Bobir received a pass from the right wing and shot into the net from just five metres.
The low pass, earlier, came close to defender Mạnh who could easily have kicked it out but he missed, giving a chance to Bobir who did not waste the golden opportunity.
A loss meant that Việt Nam would fail to make the friendly Cup’s final. This was the reason that Vietnamese players pushed up their speed and created consecutive attempts in the rest of the time of the first half. However, their efforts failed.
After the interval, South Korean Park made two changes in his line-up and Việt Nam round the equaliser.
Midfielder Nguyễn Phong Hồng Duy went down in the box and Việt Nam were given a penalty.
Striker Nguyễn Công Phượng succeeded with a kick to his right corner at the 60th minute.
Coach Chung in commentary shows between two halves and after the match said Uzbekistan’s playing style was very simple. They just brought the ball ahead, passed it to the box for their forwards who could either shoot in or make headers.
However, this style worked very well against Việt Nam whose defence lost their contact and did not cover for each other.
The second goal for Uzbekistan came from that 65th-minute situation.
Captain Urinboev Zabikhillo received the ball when he was surrounded by three Vietnamese defenders and headed to the net. Goalkeeper Hoàng pushed it out but it was not strong enough to save his net.
Urinboev fell to the ground after his header but quickly stood up and shot straight to the net. This time, Hoàng could not stop the ball.
Defender Mạnh also took part in this incident but again failed to defend his net.
"It is a problem when players choose their places to resist an attack. It is also a problem of a familiar position of a player in a team. (The new formulation) put them in a strange place and they did not work well, I think," said Chung.
Three more changes were made to the Việt Nam side. Attacking midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải who scored two goals in the previous match and striker Hà Đức Chinh, who impressed Park with his seven goals in the V. League, were on the field.
Though they brought some fresh air into the team it was not enough to find the goal although several threatening chances were created.
Uzbekistan also had their moments and they nearly scored the third goal near the end of the match but goalie Hoàng did his job well.
Park showed his disappointment in the post-match conference, saying his players had played a selfish match and had not worked as a team.
He said his players were playing below par and he was not satisfied with their performance.
Park said his team was sad but thanks to the loss he realised that some things needed to be changed. They would first focus on the third-place match in which he would maintain the 3-4-3 line-up.
Losing this match, Việt Nam were ranked second in Group B and will play the bronze-medal match against Thailand tomorrow.
Uzbekistan will compete for a gold medal against Japan. – VNS