U23 Asian Cup: Vietnam may go on the offense against Saudi Arabia

By Lam Thoa   June 11, 2022 | 03:30 am PT
U23 Asian Cup: Vietnam may go on the offense against Saudi Arabia
Coach Gong Oh-kyun speaks at a press meet on June 11, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Coach Gong Oh-kyun said Vietnam are willing to take the risk and go on the offense against the stronger Saudi Arabia at the U23 Asian Cup quarterfinal on Sunday.

"Saudi Arabia are truly strong. They got into the quarterfinal without letting their opponents score a single goal. We had to prepare our strategies more carefully," Gong said at a Saturday press meet, adding that with goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan unavailable due to injuries, there are 22 players left.

Gong said Vietnam would prepare their defensive line-up well, but an offensive gameplay is not out of the question.

Vietnam tied with both Thailand and South Korea, the latter strong contenders for the championship, and bested Malaysia to enter the quarterfinal. Saudi Arabia meanwhile are the only one to keep their net clean in all of the U23 Asian Cup's qualifiers in history. They defeated Tajikistan, the UAE and tied with Japan to enter the quarterfinal.

In the four encounters against Saudi Arabia at the Olympics in 2008 and 2012, Vietnam never managed to snatch a win. But Vietnam have also never lost against any West Asian opponents in major U23 tournaments ever since coach Park Hang-seo led the team in October 2017.

The quarterfinal between Vietnam and Saudi Arabia will take place at 11 p.m. (Hanoi time) on Sunday and will be reported live on VnExpress International.

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