Veteran keeper leaves past behind, heads to World Cup qualifiers

By Lam Thoa   June 3, 2021 | 05:31 pm PT
Veteran keeper leaves past behind, heads to World Cup qualifiers
Bui Tuan Truong (C) trains with two other goalkeepers of the national team in Dubai, UAE, June 2, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Bui Tan Truong is confident of his performance at upcoming World Cup qualifiers despite past mistakes.

"It's too soon to say anything so just watch me. Believe in me. I'll try my best to gain your trust," Truong said before a training session Wednesday.

Dang Van Lam was supposed to appear as Vietnam's number one goalkeeper at the World Cup qualifiers, but since his club Cerezo Osaka had detected a Covid-19 case, coach Park Hang-seo decided to exclude Lam from the squad as a safety precaution.

Without Lam, Vietnam still has three other keepers Bui Tan Truong, Nguyen Van Toan and Nguyen Van Hoang. Among them, Truong is the most reasonable choice for the spot due to his experience, physique and form.

However, after several mistakes at SEA Games 2009 and AFF Cup 2010, Truong drew widespread criticism, with some still worried there may be a repeat.

Truong has played five games for the national team and conceded six goals, three of which were unforced errors.

"That happened in the past. All I care about right now is what I can do to help the team against Indonesia, Malaysia and UAE," Truong said.

After V. League 2019, Truong ended his contract with Becamex Binh Duong and retired. But in mid-2020, he returned to Hanoi FC where he performed consistently. With Truong, Hanoi went unbeaten for 14 consecutive matches last season.

"With or without Lam, there's no difference since I will work hard and try my best for the team in the next important matches," he stressed.

In the friendly with Jordan on Monday, all three Vietnamese keepers were fielded. Truong played in the first half, while Toan replaced him in the second before an injury saw Hoang take over. The game ended 1-1 with Jordan scoring an own goal.

Vietnam, who top the group with 11 points, will play Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on the 11th and the UAE on the 15th. Two wins will secure them a place in the final World Cup qualification round.

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