Cong Phuong's strike lifts Vietnam past Malaysia at AFC U-23 qualifying

By Quang Huy, Thanh Nien News

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Cong Phuong (L) vies for the ball with a Malaysia player during an AFC U-23 qualifying match at Shah Alam Stadium on March 27. Cong Phuong (L) vies for the ball with a Malaysia player during an AFC U-23 qualifying match at Shah Alam Stadium on March 27.

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Scoring a goal and setting up another, Vietnam’s emerging striker Cong Phuong has secured a win for Vietnam in their first match against Malaysia at the Asian Football Council’s Under-23 Championship qualification.
Fans' faith in the promising striker were put to the test after his unconvincing performance in a couple of previous friendlies, but his late first-half goal helped boost their confidence.
Playing away at Malaysia Shah Alam Stadium, Vietnam started the Group 1 game carefully as Coach Toshiya Miura chose to play solid defense and counter-attack.
Yet the home team Malaysia took the lead in the 34th minute with a powerful free kick from Naim which defeated Vietnam’s goalkeeper Hoai Anh.
It was then Vietnam's turn to regain the momentum and score a deserved equalizer. Cong Phuong's brilliant back-heel found Huy Toan who made no mistake to round up the fine move.
 
Then, one minute before half-time, Ngoc Hai lofted a long ball from well within his own half of the field, and Cong Phuong managed to beat Malaysia's offside trap and fired into the opposite bottom corner of the net.
 
Meanwhile, Japan crushed Macau 7-0 in the other Group I match.
According to Coach Toshiya Miura, Vietnam aims to secure the group’s second place to be qualified for the final rounds to be held in Qatar in 2016
Vietnam will play against Japan on March 29 and Macau on March 31.

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