AFC U23 Championship: Vietnam-Brunei match a chance to experiment

By Nam Anh   March 22, 2019 | 03:42 am PT
AFC U23 Championship: Vietnam-Brunei match a chance to experiment
Park Hang-seo (L) at a training session with Vietnam's U23 football team. Photo by VnExpress
Coach Park Hang-seo can use the match against Brunei to finetune his strategies and lineups for subsequent matches.

Vietnam will start its journey of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers with the first Group K match against Brunei Friday night.

Since they haven’t managed a win against Vietnam in the last three matches, and are bereft of their main striker Faiq Bolkiah for this tournament, Brunei are certainly the underdogs.

Vietnam, the host team, will expect to win and take three points.

At the press conference on Thursday, coach Park said he’d not had enough time to prepare and get to know his team well. This match is therefore an opportunity to review the squad before facing former opponents.

The defense line is in need of further testing, given that key players like goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung has just returned from a long time sitting on the bench and defender Tran Dinh Trong from injuries, while the newcomers are still trying to integrate.

In January 2018, led by Park Hang-seo, Vietnam participated in the 3rd AFC U23 Championship without much expectation. However, they delivered one surprise after another to reach the final, beaten by Uzbekistan in unfamiliar conditions in the last minute of extra time.

This time, expectations are high, and they will weigh on the team and the coach. Much is expected of Nguyen Quang Hai, the star and captain of Vietnam U23.

All Group K matches of the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers will be held at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.

Vietnam faces Brunei on March 22, Indonesia on March 24 and Thailand two days later. All matches start at 8 p.m. Hanoi time and will be reported live.

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