Football: Vietnam seeks to bolster defence as Asian championship qualifiers loom

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The national football team came back from behind to beat V-League runners-up Hanoi T&T 2-1 in a friendly match in Hanoi on Monday (January 28), following up on a 2-0 win over Hai Phong on Saturday January 26).

Despite the victories, the team's defence is still not as strong as it should be.

Coach Hoang Van Phuc chose Hanoi T&T because the V-League 2010 champs have excellent strikers and it would be a good challenge and test for the defenders of the national team.

Left back Xuan Hung replaced the regular Van Phong on the left flank and he did his job pretty well. However, the national team conceded the first goal because of Au Van Hoan's poor positioning on the right side.

Vietnamese Czech expat central fullback Michal Nguyen combined pretty well with Gia Tu and stopped most of the attacks from Hanoi T&T. Another Czech expat striker Mac Hong Quan had three scoring chances in the first half but failed to score a goal.

Midfielder Quoc Anh and central fullback Gia Tu each scored a goal as the national team prepares for the 2015 Asian Championship qualifiers.

Speaking after the match, Coach Phuc said, "The national team played better than in the game against Hai Phong. However, the defenders made a mistake that cost the team a goal.

"In the next matches, the team will need to play faster, especially in changing from defense to counterattacks."

Phuc said that it is not a good idea to worry about expat striker Mac Hong Quan because his job is to attract the rivals, giving the midfielders more chances to launch attacks. Yet Quan needs to do his job better.

Phuc also said that Michal Nguyen did a very good job as a central fullback and he would make him an official member of the national team.

After a match against Hyundai Dolphin from the Republic of Korea at Hanoi's Hang Day Stadium on Thursday, Vietnam will play its first home game against the United Arab Emirates on the 6th of February and an away match against Hong Kong on the 22nd of March.

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