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Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

By Lam Thoa   June 13, 2022 | 04:30 am PT
After keeper Quan Van Chuan was sent off, striker Nham Manh Dung donned the goalkeeper’s gloves for nearly 20 minutes at the U23 Asian Cup quarterfinals against Saudi Arabia.
Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

In the 78th minute on the game which started 11 p.m. Sunday (Hanoi time), goalkeeper Chuan (R) came out of the box to prevent a counterattack by Saudi Arabia. While one of his feet touched the ball first, the other hit Firas Al-Buraikan and that was enough for referee Yusuke Araki to give him a straight red card.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

Since Vietnam had used all their five substitutions at that point, the role of goalkeeper had to be handed over to one of the players on the field. Striker Nham Manh Dung (R) was selected by coach Gong Oh-kyun to do the job.

At the U23 Asian Cup this year, Dung has played in many positions. In the opening match against Thailand, he was a center-back when Nguyen Thanh Binh was not fit to play. In the next matches against South Korea and Malaysia, he returned to his primary position as a striker.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

For almost 20 minutes as the goalkeeper, the 22-year-old striker (L) did his job well with two saves – the first with his foot in the second minute of injury time and the second a block when he faced Ziyad Aljohani.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

After the match, Dung said that he had zero prior experience as a goalkeeper, but the situation left him no choice.

Before turning custodian, Dung (C) played as a striker and caused many difficulties for Saudi Arabia's defense.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

Vietnam lacked a bit of precision to succeed in this match. For instance, Le Minh Binh's tight shot sent the ball to the crossbar in the 35th minute.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

Saudi Arabia were the favorites to win this match. They passed the group stage with the top spot and didn’t concede any goals, in a group with Japan and the UAE. In the previous four encounters at the U23 level, they'd won three and drawn one against Vietnam.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

But Vietnam did not play defensively and surprised their opponents with their approach.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

In handling Vietnam's attacking style of play, the Saudi players chose to commit fouls away from the box. This happened quite often but they were not penalized by referee Araki.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

Amidst a promising game, Vietnam conceded a few minutes away from halftime. Left-back Moteb Al-Harbi (C) sprinted down the flank, entered the box and finished into the far corner to get Saudi Arabia ahead.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

The goal forced Vietnam to push for an equalizer, creating many gaps in the defense. In the 65th minute, Firas Al-Buraikan scored from a header to seal a 2-0 victory.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

The goal all but ended Vietnam's hopes of going further in the tournament, while Saudi Arabia head to the semifinals against Australia.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

Captain Bui Hoang Viet Anh (R) shakes ands with his teammates after the game. Despite losing to a stronger opponent, they were disappointed.

Vietnam’s man for all seasons turns custodian at U23 Asian Cup

Coach Gong thanks Vietnamese fans after the match at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Uzbekistan.

Although the team failed to recreate the nation's feat in the 2018 tournament, when they entered the final and only lost 1-2 to Uzbekistan in extra time, the playing style that coach Gong inculcated in the team impressed the fans.

 
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