Viet Nam yesterday produced a scintillating display of speed, power and clinical finishing to tear the United Arab Emirates apart in the Group B 2007 Asian Cup opening game.
|Viet Nam's star Le Cong Vinh celebrates after scoring a goal against the UAE|
Two goals from Huynh Quang Thanh and Le Cong Vinh after eleven minutes in the second half secured their surprise victory, giving the Reds a famous win at Ha Noi’s My Dinh Stadium.
Before the match, local sports newspapers and even Viet Nam’s coach Alfred Riedl had highly praised the visitors as the stronger team but it was the host side who came out strongly in the opening exchanges.
Vietnamese forward Phan Thanh Binh came close in the sixteenth minute when he turned in the UAE’s area to head a free kick from Quang Thanh off the post.
Four minutes later Phan Van Tai Em wasted a glorious chance when he struck a pass from Le Cong Vinh high over the bar.
The visitors fought back and almost had the opening goal in the 29th minute when Matar’s fierce free-kick from 20 meters fizzed past goalkeeper Duong Hong Son’s left-hand post.
Soon after, the UAE’s Khalil ran superbly to hold off Vietnamese center defender Nguyen Huy Hoang in the left wing before thundering in a powerful shot, but goalkeeper Hong Son performed an astonishing finger tip save to keep it out.
The game started at a speedy pace after the interval and Viet Nam looked the better side in the second half.
The Reds should have taken the lead in the first eight minutes of the second half when the UAE’s goalkeeper Naser failed to hold onto midfielder Vu Phong’s low shot from the edge of the box and the ball bounced back to Phan Thanh Binh, whose follow-through went straight at the goalkeeper.
Vietnamese winger Huynh Quang Thanh tried his luck soon after with a fierce shot from right wing, forcing another save from goalkeeper Naser.
The host side had the opening goal in the 62nd minute when Minh Phuong delicately chipped the ball through the UAE’s defense to Quang Thanh, who produced a crisp volley from close range to beat a helpless Naser.
The goal lifted the home team and they nearly doubled the lead five minutes later when goalkeeper Naser turned Thanh Binh’s close range shot back to the feet of skipper Minh Phuong, who curled it narrowly wide over the bar.
|Viet Nam's fans at the My Dinh Stadium|
Nearly 30,000 fans at the My Dinh Stadium were in full voice in the 73rd minute when Cong Vinh broke behind the visitors’ defense to skillfully lob shot past advancing goalkeeper Naser into the net from the edge of the box, extending the lead to 2 - 0.
The UAE threw everything at Viet Nam in the remaining time but the home team stood firm to secure the night’s victory. Thanks to his great performance, Vietnamese skipper Nguyen Minh Phuong was voted to be the Man of the Match.
Viet Nam: Hong Son, Quang Thanh, Huy Hoang, Như Thanh, Van Nhien, Tan Tai, Minh Phuong, Tai Em, Vu Phong, Le Cong Vinh, Phan Thanh Binh.
The UAE: Naser, Jumaa, Pashid, Ali, Matar, Khalil, Mohamed, Saeed, Al Shehhi, Jaber, H.Saaed.