Cong Phuong scores twice as Vietnam trounce Timor Leste 4-0

NDO – Vietnam produced a flying start to their 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers campaign by impressively thrashing Timor Leste with four unanswered goals in their Group I opener at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City on July 19.

Crowd favourite, striker Nguyen Cong Phuong, lived up to expectations by scoring twice for the home side, including one finish from the penalty spot. The remaining two goals were scored by Ha Duc Chinh and Nguyen Tuan Anh.

The rain-soaked stadium prevented both teams from properly deploying their set tactics. Despite being the underdogs, Timor Leste created the first opportunity of the match after four minutes with a close-range strike by forward Monteiro, which beat Vietnamese goalkeeper Tien Dung but unluckily for the away side stopped right in front of the goal line due to a small puddle.

After a poor opening, Vietnam gained confidence and began to take control of the game. In the 17th minute, taking advantage of a scrappy situation in Timor’s penalty area, striker Duc Chinh unleashed a decisive finish to open the scoring for the home team.

Vietnam created several other chances to extend their lead in the remainder of the first half; however, they were not successfully converted into a goal, leaving the score at 1-0 after the first 45 minutes.

After the break, Vietnam coach Nguyen Huu Thang introduced Quang Hai onto the field and the Hanoi FC midfielder immediately proved his value. In the 67th minute, Quang Hai whipped in an accurate corner kick for teammate Cong Phuong, who then slipped past a Timor defender before finishing off past goalie Fagio Augosto for Vietnam’s second goal.

Just two minutes later, a combination on the left-wing between the same two players earned Vietnam a penalty, which was successfully converted by Cong Phuong to make it 3-0 in Vietnam’s favour.

The hosts maintained their control with time running out and with just three minutes remaining, Tuan Anh managed to get himself on the score sheet, thereby sealing a convincing 4-0 win for Vietnam.

With the victory, Vietnam temporarily move into second in Group I, behind the leader, Republic of Korea, who brilliantly demolished Macau (China) 10-0 in another Group I match earlier the same day.

The 2018 AFC U-23 Championship qualifiers have brought together 40 teams from across Asia, who are competing in a round robin tournament of ten groups. The ten group winners and the five best runners-up will qualify for the final tournament in China next year.



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