Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam tied 1-1 with North Korea in a friendly match held at Mỹ Đình National Stadium in Hà Nội yesterday night.
Both goals were scored in the second half. Việt Nam’s head coach Park Hang-seo tested many players in this match to prepare for the upcoming Asian Cup. Việt Nam created many chances but failed to capitalise for the victory.
With the support of thousands of fans on their hometurf, Việt Nam dominated possession from the opening whistle.
The visiting side seemed to have the opener in the 24th minute as Jong Il-gwan defeated Vietnamese goalie Nguyễn Tuấn Mạnh, but the referee flagged Jong as offside.
Two minutes later, North Korea were awarded a free kick from the left wing. Receiving the pass of Jong, Kim Song Gi headed towards goal but failed to hit the target.
The hosts were then awarded a free kick from 30m, however midfielder Lương Xuân Trường was unable to find the net.
In the last minute of the first half, striker Nguyễn Công Phượng pushed into the penalty area but his shot was no trouble for North Korean goalkeeper, Ri Myong Guk.
After the break, Việt Nam’s head coach Park Hang-seo changed his squad and tactics to seek the opener and give a chance for other players.
Goalie Mạnh was replaced by Bùi Tiến Dũng. Midfielder Quế Ngọc Hải was also given a chance in the second half. He received the captain’s armband from Trường.
In the 54th minute, receiving a pass of Phượng, striker Nguyễn Tiến Linh made fans jump for joy as he defeated goalie Ri to open the score for the hosts.
The early goal helped boost Việt Nam’s confidence and they created several chances to double the score.
Phượng, who scored three goals in the recent AFF Suzuki Cup, had another chance to write his name on the scoresheet. He beat the North Korean defence to face goalie Ri but was unlucky.
The visiting side fought back strongly and their effort was repaid with Jong’s goal in the 81st minute. Vietnamese goalie Dũng dived for the ball but was unable to save it.
Just two minutes later, Việt Nam nearly had a second goal. Taking full advantage of the confused situation in the penalty area, striker Hà Đức Chinh passed the ball for midfielder Phạm Đức Huy but it hit the crossbar.
In the last minute of the game, striker from Hoàng Anh Gia Lai, Phượng, once again missed a clear chance.
This match was the final test for Việt Nam, AFF Suzuki Cup champions, to prepare for the upcoming Asian Cup next month in which North Korea are in Group E with Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Qatar, while Việt Nam are in Group D with Iraq, Iran and Yemen. —VNS