|HAGL’s coach Guillaume Graechen will lead his team to take the trophy of the International U19 Football Tournament. — Photo thethao247.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Hoàng Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) will win the International U19 Football Tournament which will kick off today, according to their coach Guillaume Graechen.
The French retired footballer said his team will improve compared to the recent National U19 Football Tournament, in which HAGL were ousted from the qualification round.
“In comparison to the national U19 event held in Huế, our line-up has the great change in midfield and defence. I think my players will play better,” said the 40-year-old coach.
Hosts HAGL, who finished third in the same event last year, have strengthened their squad with young talents Nguyễn Duy Kiên and Nguyễn Văn Vân.
The coach said besides improving skills and tactics, HAGL will play with more confidence at home in Pleiku Stadium in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai.
HAGL’s opponents consist of Chonburi of Thailand, FC Seoul of South Korea, Mito Hollyhock of Japan and Việt Nam U19.
Teams will compete in a round robin format to find the winner.
According to manager Rachakrit Kotchasuwan, Chonburi brought a strong squad, with five national U17 players and key players such as Rachata Moraksa.
In the 2017-18 Thailand Youth League season, Chonburi finished first in the Eastern region to reach the final where they lost to SCG Muangthong United 2-1 on March 3.
While coach Kim Jin-kyu of FC Seoul said his team have two South Korea national U18 players and affirmed they have high hopes for the tournament.
“As you know, in South Korea when we compete, we await matches which players have good physique and organisation. So in this tournament, we hope we can show our strong points,” said Kim.
For Mito Hollyhock, chairman Kunio Numata led his team to Pleiku City. Goalkeeper Kimura Go, who plays for the national U19 team and competes in J2 League, is set to feature.
Defending champions Việt Nam U19 team will aim to protect their title.
“Playing in this event, every club wants to hold the trophy and so do Việt Nam,” said coach Vũ Hồng Việt.
“The teams in this year’s event are very strong, especially Mito Hollyhock and FC Seoul. However, we are determined to win each match to win the title,” Việt added.
In the opening matches today, HAGL will meet FC Seoul and Việt Nam will face Chonburi.
All matches will be broadcast live on VTC News. — VNS