Vietnam Cup: hosts take lead, U-23 Thailand hold China

Under-23 Vietnam beat Under-23 Singapore 1-0 in Hanoi Thursday in the first day of the Vietnam Football Federation Cup and took the lead, as U-23 Thailand drew 2-2 with U-23 China.

Striker Phan Thanh Binh scored the only goal for the hosts in the 36th minute at the My Dinh National Stadium. Midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang set him a ball in the middle of the left and central defenders of Singapore, and Binh fired with an oblique low shot.

U23 Vietnam’s striker Phan Thanh Binh (R) and U23 Singapore’s defender Afiq fight for the ball during their Nov. 5 match in the friendship VFF Cup in Hanoi (Photo: SGGP)

The home side played faster and higher after the break. They missed at least five chances, including a situation similar to Vietnam’s scoring one in the first half but forward Hoang Dinh Tu, who replaced Binh in the second half, failed to double the gap.

The best chance for U-23 Singapore came a few minutes before the final whistle while the Vietnamese were focusing o attacks. A Singapore striker grabbed the ball from a counter attack. He looped it over Vietnamese keeper Bui Tan Truong but his finish went wide, just a little.

The hosts did not stop their attacks but could not score more. Besides, Singapore keeper Juma made different saves to deny shots from the hosts.

In the earlier match, U-23 Thailand held U-23 China with a 2-2 draw.

The four teams play on a round-robin format in the friendship tournament, designed to help the U-23 teams of Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam improve fitness before they will compete in December’s 25th Southeast Asian Games in Laos.

In the Vietnam Football Federation Cup, the hosts will play China and the Thais will take on the Young Lions on Saturday. In the final matchday, Nov. 9, China will play Singapore before Vietnam confront Thailand.

The winners will pocket US$25,000 while the first and second runners- up will each win US$10,000 and US$5,000.

By Minh Tuong

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