Vietnam's Under-19 men's learned a good lesson from the 1-2 defeat to their AS Roma counterparts in the Nutifood Cup Under-19 International football tournament opener in Ho Chi Minh City Monday: you can play well all day, but it doesn't matter if you don't perform in the clutch.
The Vietnamese U19s were in high spirits and displayed a great performance against the better team from the Italian capital. The Vietnamese side's great combinations put a lot of pressure on the visitors but they could not convert any of the scoring chances.
AS Roma U19s then showed how effective they were in their counterattacks. They took the lead in the 20th minute when Trani Valerio took the advantage of a mistake by the Vietnamese defenders and scored the opener.
The Italians then showed how strong they were by setting up a wall of defense in front of their penalty area to stop all the attacks from the home team. Although the Vietnamese boys had more ball control, they failed to break through the Italian wall of defense.
Vietnam's leveler by Van Son from the penalty spot came from a very serious decision by South Korean referee Kim Dae Yong against AS Roma central fullback Bodor Deian, rather than the result of a really dangerous attack from the home team.
After the break, Trani Valerio scored his second goal for the Italian team. They would have had a bigger victory if Vietnam's goalkeeper Le Van Truong had not stopped a penalty kick from Vina Daniel five minutes from full time.
Speaking after the match, Vietnam's team coach Guillaume Graechen said, "We lost the game but we are not sad. This match was a good lesson for us to make improvements. AS Roma U19s had only four chances and they scored two goals while we had better ball control but failed to make our attacks dangerous enough. We will need more improvements in the future."
AS Roman U19 team coach De Rossi Alberto praised the Vietnamese boys saying, "I was surprised at the skills of the Vietnamese players. Some of them are good enough to play in Europe. I believe Vietnamese U19s will do well at the U19 Asian Football Confederation Championship [later this year]".
In the other game, the U19 players of the English Premier League Tottenham Hotspur beat Japan's U19s 2-1.
The four teams are playing round robin until the event closes on Friday.