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Apr 18, 2024 / 14:51

Vietnam win first match of Asian U23 tournament

The team performance was poor, but Vietnam's individual efforts and their opponents' mistakes earned them the win.

Vietnam’s U23 national football team defeated Kuwait 3-1 on April  17  in their first match of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup 2024.

 Vietnam U-23 players celebrate their first goal against Kuwait. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation

Both teams played a poor game. Vietnam's most promising attacking midfielder, Nguyen Dinh Bac, went off injured in the 6th minute.

Kuwait's Ebrahim Marzouq was shown a red card in the 32nd minute after deliberately kicking Khuat Van Khang in the thigh.

Striker Nguyen Van Tung beat the offside trap to open the scoring for Vietnam in the first minute of first-half stoppage time.

A minute later, winger Abdul Karam was fouled in the box by left centre-back Nguyen Ngoc Thang.

It took the referee six minutes to consult the Video Assistant Referee (VAR). He showed Thang a red card and awarded Kuwait a penalty.

Kuwait's Salman Al-Awadi levelled the scores with a well-taken penalty in the ninth minute of extra time.

Two minutes into the second half, substitute striker Bui Vi Hao netted Vietnam's second goal in the 47th minute, capitalising on a poor clearance by Kuwait goalkeeper Ali Marzouq.

Vietnam were in control until the very end. Hao found the back of the net for the second time to seal a 3-1 victory in the 76th minute.

Kuwait had a few chances, but their players were too exhausted to keep up with the ball.

Vietnam went top of Group D after beating Kuwait. Uzbekistan are second after winning 2-0 against Malaysia the day before.

Slight disappointment

Despite the win, most Vietnamese football fans were disappointed with the performance of their players.

Vietnam were unable to control the tempo or the ball until the referee showed Kuwait a red card in the 32nd minute.

Despite their one-man advantage, the Vietnamese players struggled to link up and make quality passes.

The connections between the lines and between the goalkeeper and the defenders were poor. In some cases, they didn't communicate with each other and allowed the opposition to play dangerous balls.

With such a performance, the upcoming match against Malaysia will be a tricky one for the Vietnamese as both teams are familiar with each other's style of play.

Speaking at the post-match conference, Vietnam head coach Hoang Anh Tuan said he was not happy with the team's overall performance.

"I am happy with the result. The players were not confident in the first half, so they did not play their best and made the game harder than it should have been," he said. "The red card at the end of the first half showed that our players were not confident enough.

Tuan said he was not impressed with the opposition and criticized the players for not performing up to expectations.

The head coach refused to reveal his tactical approach and preparations for their next game against Malaysia on Sunday (April 20).

"We need the best result," said Tuan, referring to a win over Malaysia. "We hope to play better games in the future."