Vietnam posts unconvincing win in U23 opener

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Vietnam's U23 footballers beat Malaysia 2-1 in the opener of the Thang Long Cup on Tuesday.

However, the victory at HCMC's Thong Nhat Stadium also exposed some lapses.

Despite training together for less a month and some players joining the squad for the first time, the home team started the game full of confidence and in high spirits, drawing cheers from the 15,000 or so spectators.

The 4-5-1 formation resorted to by coach Phan Thanh Hung, who took Hanoi T&T to the V-League 2010 championship, worked effectively.

The most prominent player in the home team was skipper Bui Van Hieu who formed a good link between the midfielders Duc Thien, Ngoc Dieu, Van Thang and Thanh Trung.

The midfielders worked very well, making it possible for striker Anh Duc to score two goals midway through the first half.

But the two early goals caused the Vietnamese young players to lose concentration, exemplified by goalie Tan Truong's goal kick directly to Talaha Idlan less than 20 meters. The latter did not spurn the gift.

Some complacent players almost cost the home team dear at some times in the second half.

Speaking to Thanh Nien after the game, coach Thanh Hung said, "We played exceptionally in the first half and took advantage with two early goals.

"However, my young players got too satisfied. They didn't concentrate after the goals. Not only goalkeeper Tan Truong but also other positions wanted to "show off" their personal skills; and the whole team didn't play very well in the second half."

Malaysian coach Rajagobal said, "Vietnam played very well and we conceded two goals early in the game.

"Yet I am pleased with my players' display in the second half. They will play better and better after each game."

In the previous match, Iran drew 1-1 with Singapore. Iran's coach Gholamhossin Peyrorang was upset with the referee because he felt the latter was not strict enough with the violent Singaporeans who made his players underperform.

The September 28-October 2 Thang Long Cup is being held in Ho Chi Minh City to celebrate Thang Long Hanoi's 1,000th anniversary.

The Thang Long-Hanoi Cup ended in Hanoi on Friday with Vietnam's national football team coming in second behind the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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