Vietnam lose to Turkmenistan in VFF Cup opener

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Vietnam disappointed almost 10,000 spectators at Ho Chi Minh City's Thong Nhat Stadium by losing 0-1 to Turkmenistan on the  opening day of the annual Vietnam Football Federation Cup Wednesday.

It was not just the loss, but a sloppy performance that irked the fans.

A defeat to a modest rival like Turkmenistan is a worrying sign, especially after the coaching staff said the team have completed 90 per cent of their preparation for the ASEAN Football Federation Cup next month.

Striker Van Quyet seemed barely focused, and made plenty of mistakes. He hardly had possession in the first half, and when he did he was either offside or was tackled by the Turkmen players.

The five midfielders -- Thanh Hung, Quoc Anh, Nguyen Sa, Tan Tai, and Trong Hoang -- did not combine very well because they did not have a real playmaker. The poor performance in the midfield meant the frontline did not get any service.

Sy Cuong replaced Tai, who suffered an injury just 12 minutes into the match, and then coach Phan Thanh Hung made three more substitutions in the midfield. But nothing worked. Vietnam had only one chance in the first half, when Hoang's shot went above the crosspiece two minutes before the whistle.

Turkmenistan captain Vladimir Bayramov, who beat Tan Truong after collecting the Vietnamese goalie's feeble clearance, scored the match's only goal.

Vietnamese central defenders Dinh Luat and Gia Tu put up a disappointing performance. The team would probably have conceded more goals if the Turkmen forwards had been accurate with their shots.

Speaking after the game, Hung said: "The opponents played a pressing game, making it difficult for the Vietnamese players from the beginning. That was why [they] could not display their ability.

"Tan Tai's injury was not serious, but we had to replace him with another player because we don't want him to suffer a serious injury in a friendly match like this."

Earlier, in the tournament's opening match, the Korean under-23 team beat Laos 4-1.

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