Vietnam suffered their third consecutive defeat, losing 0-6 at the hands of one-time World Cup quarterfinalists Republic of Korea (RoK).
|Vietnamese players defend a corner from the Republic of Korean. (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi - Vietnam suffered their third consecutive defeat, losing 0-6 at the hands of one-time World Cup quarterfinalists Republic of Korea (RoK) in Suwon on October 17.
Five out of six goals of the RoK were scored by players playing in Europe's top five leagues, namely Kim Min-jae, Hwang Hee-chan, Son Heung-min, Lee Kang-in and Jeong Woo-yeong. Vietnam did manage one goal... but sadly Vo Minh Trong put the ball into his own net.
The RoK’s manager Jurgen Klinsmann and the Korean Football Association came under some criticism from Korean fans on why Vietnam was selected for a friendly. However, despite the scoreline, the brave showing from the Golden Star Warriors did give Klinsmann's A-team some nervy moments.
A respectful RoK went all out from kick-off with a star-filled squad. In the fifth minute, the RoK found their opening from a corner kick. The 1.9m tall Kim Min-jae, currently playing for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga, sent a towering header that gave the Vietnamese defence no chance.
The goal seemed to suck all of Vietnam's confidence, as Philippe Troussier's team was subjected to shots after shots from the home side. It took until the 22nd minute for Vietnam to regain composure, with two big chances coming for young defender Truong Tien Anh. The right-back, however, lacked the finesse to seize the opportunities.
Vietnam pushed higher looking for the equaliser, but fell into a trap by Klinsmann's team. Just five minutes after Tien Anh's squandered chances, Wolverhampton Wanderers' Hwang Hee-chan doubled the lead for the Taeguk Warriors from a quick counter.
The game's pace was pushed higher in the second half, and the RoK proved to be the better side in high-speed attacking scenarios. In the 50th minute, a cross from captain Son Heung-min led to Minh Trong's own goal.
Eleven minutes later, the 2021/22 Premier League top scorer got his deserved goal, as Son finished off a great one-two with Hwang to make it 4-0 for the hosts.
Son got an assist in the 71st minute, with a beautiful delivery for PSG's Lee Kang-in to fire in a left-footed shot into Dang Van Lam's net.
A controversial moment happened in the 61st minute with Son also playing a role. A tackle from Bui Hoang Viet Anh was on point and the defender touched the ball first, before unfortunately hitting Son's supporting leg.
The referee quickly handed a straight red card to Viet Anh, and despite protests from Son himself to rescind the card, the decision was final and Vietnam were down to ten men in the last twenty minutes.
Although at a disadvantage, Vietnam played much better in the final minutes. In the 73rd minute, Khuat Van Khang even rattled Jo Hyeon-woo's woodwork with a stunning free-kick from 20 metres.
Klinsmann and the RoK were not complacent, and scored a sixth goal in the 86th minute, courtesy of Jeong Woo-young's easy tap-in to finish the match 6-0.
Troussier still positive
In the post-match press conference, the Vietnam national team's head coach showed no conserns over the result, but rather was more disappointed at the chances squandered by his players.
"I'm really not surprised by the results. But in terms of score, the Vietnamese team deserved a goal," said Troussier, "To be precise, we need to convert opportunities into goals better."
The Frenchman was happy with his team's disciplined play and noted that the defeat came mostly from the opposition's quickness and greater physicality.
His counterpart, German legend Jurgen Klinsmann, sang praises of Vietnam despite the heavy rout from his team.
"Vietnam had opportunities," said Klinsmann, "If the match was replayed, the RoK might not win. I respect Vietnam and the fact that our opponent gave their best on the field."
Vietnam's players will return home to start the 23/24 football season with their respective clubs. In their next national break, Vietnam will face the Philippines away on November 16, and Iraq at home on November 21.
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