Vietnam's Under-23 team put on a good show Friday in holding their strong Uzbek rivals to a 1-1 draw at the ongoing VFF Cup tournament in Hanoi, but it is evident that there is considerable room for improvement.
The team was in high spirits and showed determination but their performances were as not good and dangerous as in the 5-0 win over Myanmar two days earlier.
This also had to do with the fact that the Uzbeks were much better than Myanmar in strategy, defense and attack. Vietnam, therefore, had just one clear chance near the end of the first half when captain Pham Thanh Luong's close-range shot hit the Uzbek goal post.
In the game against Uzbekistan, Vietnam's coach Falko Goetz made five changes to the team that beat Myanmar in the opener.
The substitutes proved to be almost as good as the regulars. They managed to score the leveler just three minutes after conceding the first goal early in the second half.
From a Thanh Luong free kick, striker Van Quyet header from close range beat the Uzbek goalie.
However, Quyet missed two other good chances, in one of which he hit the bar from only 10 meters after taking a great pass from striker Dinh Tung from the left flank.
The Vietnamese players also deserve praise for their resilience. They fought hard after Chu Ngoc Anh was sent off with his second yellow card.
While the Uzbek team lacked some of their better players as coach Vadim Abramov said, the signs are still good for the hosts.
Coach Falko Goetz, pundits and Vietnamese fans might be very pleased with Friday's performance, but the team needs to learn several lessons.
There are several things to be done soon. First, they need to improve their ability to convert good scoring chances.
Also, players like Ngoc Anh may be very destructive for the team. He made two very stupid mistakes that earned him two yellow cards in less than 10 minutes. That is unacceptable. If that does not improve soon, Vietnam will not be able to go far at the coming 26th Southeast Asian Games in Indonesia next month.
In the other match, Malaysia, who lost 1-3 to Uzbekistan in their first game, came back from a goal down to beat Myanmar 2-1.