Vietnam seek first win against Saudi Arabia at U23 level

By Xuan Binh   June 11, 2022 | 05:09 pm PT
Vietnam seek first win against Saudi Arabia at U23 level
Defender Nguyen Thanh Binh during the Vietnam-Malaysia game in U23 Asian Cup group stage on June 9, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Vietnam hope to beat Saudi Arabia during their U23 Asian Cup quarterfinal Sunday night, the first time they would do so at this level.

Vietnam drew one and lost three of their four encounters with Saudi Arabia in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic qualifiers. The draw came in the first leg of the 2008 Olympic third qualifying round, when Le Cong Vinh scored to help the team draw 1-1 on home ground in September 2007. But in the rematch later, Vietnam lost 0-2.

In the 2012 Olympic qualifying round, Vietnam lost two matches against Saudi Arabia and got eliminated. They lost 0-2 in the first leg away, then lost 1-4 at home. After four encounters with Saudi Arabia, Vietnam scored two and conceded nine goals.

Saudi Arabia also outperformed other Southeast Asian teams. In 12 encounters with them, Saudi Arabia won nine, drew two and only lost one match. Two draws belong to Vietnam and Thailand, with Malaysia the only Southeast Asian team to have ever beat Saudi Arabia, in the last game of the U23 AFC Championship group stage.

Vietnam have played 29 matches against West Asian teams at major U23 tournaments. Of these, the team won six, drew 10 and lost 13 matches, scored 31 and conceded 43 goals.

Vietnam have also never lost to a West Asian opponent in a major U23 tournament ever since coach Park Hang-seo took over in October 2017. Since then, the team have won two and drew six out of eight matches against West Asian opponents. Vietnam played these eight matches under the lead of coach Park, with the next match against Saudi Arabia on Sunday night to be overseen by coach Gong Oh-kyun.

Coach Gong has managed Vietnam in three matches with an undefeated record in the 2022 U23 Asian Cup group stage. The team drew against Thailand 2-2, South Korea 1-1 and beat Malaysia 2-0. Vietnam are also on a 15-match unbeaten streak in major U23 tournaments.

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