Vietnam complete pre-AFF Cup rehearsal with draw against Japanese club

The Vietnamese men’s national football team were held to a goalless draw by Japan’s Avispa Fukuoka Club in a friendly match at Can Tho Stadium in Can Tho city on November 12, which was considered the last rehearsal of coach Nguyen Huu Thang’s players before heading to Myanmar for the 2016 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup.

Cong Phuong (number 16) missed two opportunities to score for Vietnam.
Cong Phuong (number 16) missed two opportunities to score for Vietnam.

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Vietnam put constant pressure on the Japanese side right from the first whistle, forcing the guests to play on defence in the opening 45 minutes of the match.

Cong Phuong missed a golden chance to earn Vietnam an early opener in the eighth minute when he carelessly handled the ball in a face-to-face with Fukuoka keeper Kamiyama, after receiving a precise pass from teammate Van Toan.

Nine minutes later, it was Van Toan who broke into the Fukuoka box before curling a cunning shot at the bottom corner that made Kamiyama work hard for a block.

The Avispa goalie denied Vietnam’s third scoring effort in the 25th minute by saving Cong Phuong’s attempt at converting Van Quyet’s through-ball into a goal for Vietnam.

The host team maintained their domination after the interval but still could not break the deadlock despite concerted efforts from Cong Phuong, Van Quyet and Phi Son.

Regardless of the goalless draw against Avispa Fukuoka, an unbeaten friendly run, following a 5-2 win over the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and a 2-2 first-leg draw and 3-2 second-leg victory over Indonesia, proved to be a perfect warmup for Vietnam ahead of their AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 campaign in Myanmar.

The biennial regional championship will be held from November 19 to December 17, with eight teams competing in a round robin group-stage tournament to decide the top two teams from each group for the semifinals.

Vietnam has been drawn alongside hosts Myanmar, Malaysia and qualification winners Cambodia in Group B, while Group A is made up of reigning champions Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Vietnam will play their group opener against Myanmar on November 20 before taking on Malaysia and Cambodia on November 23 and 26 respectively.