Hau's absence provides window of opportunity at AFC U23 Championship

By Hoang Nguyen   January 3, 2020 | 02:17 am PT
Hau's absence provides window of opportunity at AFC U23 Championship
Doan Van Hau celebrates after opening the scoreboard for Vietnam in the SEA Games 30's final against Indonesia on December 10, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
With key defender Doan Van Hau to miss the upcoming Asian U23 tournament, coach Park Hang-seo can draw on other worthy left-backs.

One is Do Thanh Thinh of SHB Da Nang, second option after Hau in the U23 team. Thinh's strength lies in his ability to support offensives by feeding forwards accurate crosses. However, opponents can easily exploit the space left open as he moves up-field to aid attackers.

Becamex Binh Duong's Nguyen Hung Thien Duc is another option, the 20-year-old full back having enjoyed a great season at his club. Duc is a dynamic and hard-working player down the right wing, though his small stature means he oftens loses aerial duels.

Similar in age as Duc and Hau, Dung Quang Nho, contracted to Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC, is an excellent left-back, though coach Park may prefer playing him on the right flank.

If necessary, another Binh Duong player, Ho Tan Tai, who performed well at SEA Games 30, can fill Hau's shoes. Though Tai's main role is right-back, the 22-year-old can perform equally well at left back.

Ho Tan Tai (in red) tries to win the ball back during the game between U23 Vietnam and Thailand in the AFC U23 qualifiers on March 26, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Binh.

Ho Tan Tai (in red) competes for the ball in the AFC U23 qualification match against Thailand on March 26, 2019, when Vietnam won 4-0. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Binh.

With Tai on left wing, Hanoi FC’s Truong Van Thai Quy and Thanh Hoa FC’s Nguyen Trong Hung are ideal candidates to take over his role. Both players are midfielders but have enjoyed stints at right back to great success.

With Tai sure to miss the first game for Vietnam due to two yellow cards received during the qualifiers in March last year, it’s likely Quy or Hung would make the starting line-up.

Hau was the key player and the number one option of Park during his two-year coaching Vietnam national teams. He was with the team when they finished runners up at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship.

At the SEA Games 30, he scored two goals to help Vietnam secure a 3-0 victory over Indonesia and earned their first male football gold medal at the tournament.

But due to a conflict in schedule, Hau's club SC Heerenveen refused to let him leave for another tournament.

Vietnam’s U23 team will play their first match of the tournament against UAE on January 10, followed by the second against Jordan on January 13 and the third facing North Korea three days later.

The matches will be reported live via VnExpress International.

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