Vietnam feeling confident after friendly win over Kuwait

June 2, 2009

Vietnam’s national male football team grabbed a 1-0 away victory over Kuwait in a friendly match at the Friendship and Peace Stadium in Kuwait City early Monday morning Vietnam time.

It was an especially triumphant win as the team had to play without some of its brightest stars who were out with injuries; not to mention the scorching weather in Kuwait, which was 38 degrees Celsius at 8 p.m. when the match started.

National team head coach Henrique Calisto chose a sensible 4-4-2 formation with Ukrainian Vietnamese Dinh Hoang La in goal and Minh Duc, Nhu Thanh, Quang Thanh and Viet Cuong on defense.

The Portuguese tactician pushed defender Phuoc Tu further up to play alongside Thanh Luong, Vu Phong and Trong Hoang in the midfield, while he had Viet Thang paired with Brazilian Vietnamese Huynh Kesley on the front line.

The newly changed formation worked fairly well with the Vietnamese players starting the match confident and on equal terms with the home team.

At times in the first half, the visitors controlled the match, putting pressure on Kuwait. The strong start resulted in a goal for Vietnam 35 minutes into the match when midfielder Trong Hoang moved around two Kuwaiti defenders and outwitted the goalkeeper after receiving a clean pass from a perfect set-up by Huynh Kesley and Vu Phong.

In the second half, Kuwait changed most of their players in the starting line-up and picked up speed while looking for an equalizer. However, the

Vietnamese players stood firm – especially goalkeeper Hoang La who made several brilliant saves, ensuring Vietnam held its lead until the end.

The Kuwaiti team’s defense proved to be their Achilles’ heel and had Vietnamese striker Phan Thanh Binh come out stronger in the final minutes, he may have doubled the score for Vietnam.

Vietnam lost 1-6 to China in an Asian Cup qualifying round match earlier this year, but this victory, along with a 1-0 friendly home win over the Greek club Olympiakos in Hanoi on May 14, is a good confidence booster for more important matches ahead.

The national team will play an Asian Cup qualifying round match against Syria at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium on November 14. Vietnam will then head to Syria four days later.

Reported by Le Ngo

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