|Võ Nguyên Hoàng (left) celebrates after scoring Việt Nam's second goal in the hosts' 3-0 win over Singapore during the ASEAN Football Federation U18 Championship on Sunday. Việt Nam will play Thailand today. — Photo zing.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn warned his players not to underestimate Thailand’s strength ahead of their match in Group B of the ASEAN Football Federation U18 Championship today in Bình Dương.
Speaking to reporters, Tuấn, who led Việt Nam’s U20 team to the World Cup in 2017 in South Korea, said that despite being near the bottom of the group, Thailand were still a powerful team who could beat anyone.
“Thailand earned only one point in three matches but they played good games,” said Tuấn. "In all three matches, they created many chances but failed to score goals."
“I even thought they could beat Australia after seeing them totally dominate in the first 10 minutes. However, due to their less imposing physique, Thailand could not maintain their dominance. In my opinion, they should be respected,” he said.
After beating Singapore 3-0 on Sunday, Việt Nam are in third place in their group and still have a chance to advance to the knockout stage.
Trần Mạnh Quỳnh scored a double in Việt Nam’s win over Singapore in Bình Dương. The hosts showed off their strength from the opening whistle, pouring on the pressure.
Nguyễn Kim Nhật, Võ Nguyên Hoàng and Bùi Tiến Sinh all missed chances to open the scoring early. But the hosts finally took the lead in the 29th minute when Quỳnh broke through on the left wing and sent his shot past Singapore goalkeeper Prathip Ekamparam.
Hoàng made it 2-0 minutes after the interval as he controlled a pass with his chest before applying the finishing touch.
Quỳnh secured his second goal with a header from close range.
Singapore also had their chances but Abdul Rasaq Ishiekwene and later Muhammad Danish Zulkarnaen could not beat the Vietnamese defence.
“I made some changes in the starting team compared to previous matches," Tuấn said. "Some players who first played internationally still made mistakes while the whole team needs to improve their weaknesses. I am happy with the win but will think more for the next games."
Striker Võ Nguyên Hoàng on the other hand was confident the hosts would secure another victory today.
“After three matches here, we have not yet totally understood each other in some cases but we are united and are in the right mood for a victory,” he said.
“Thailand are always our arch-rivals," he said. "We will not care about their previous match. We will just focus on what Tuấn said and work to secure a result. We will try our best to advance to the final."
After two losses and one draw, Thailand are fifth out of six teams in the group. They will only advance to the semi-final if they win both of their remaining matches while both Việt Nam and second-placed Malaysia, who both have six points, lose.
Elsewhere in the competition, Australia will meet Malaysia while fourth-placed Cambodia will face bottom team Singapore. — VNS