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U23 team battle to deserved draw VNTimes


Vietnam's under-23 team shared the spoils with Japan's KashimaAntlers in the capital's My Dinh Stadium on June 4, with their friendlymatch ending 2-2.

In the build-up, the game had beenbilled as an important step in Vietnam 's preparations forapproaching international tournaments, with many players being given achance to impress new coach Hoang Van Phuc and stake their claim to aberth in the main national team.

However, it was the visitorswho started the brighter, and the J-League giants dominated possessionwith their height and physical approach. They had the game's firstchance to open the scoring when Yasushi Endoh headed narrowly wide.

Vietnamese forward Mac Hong Quan responded minutes later, but his fierce shot flew over the crossbar.

Backed by the strong support of thousands of fans, the Vietnameseplayers began to grow in confidence and get a foothold on proceedings.They started working possession down the channels and exploiting theirwidth, but they still could not trouble the opposition's goalkeeperAkihiro Sato.

Five minutes after the break Vu Minh Tuanopened the scoring with a sensational free kick from 25m, sending thehome crowd wild.

However their joy was short-lived,with Yuya Osaka grabbing an equaliser just one minute later thanks to adazzling long run past Vietnam 's stranded and static defence.

Five minutes later they made it 2-1 for when Osaka provided aperfect pass to Atsutaka Nakamura, who found himself with an abundanceof time and space in which to beat Ngoc.

Phuc triedto add more of an attacking threat by bringing on strikers Ha Minh Tuanand Tran Phi Son. It proved an influential switch, with Son instantlycausing problems for the Kashima Antlers's defence.

The equaliser, when it came, was all too easy for the hosts. In the 79thminute, Sato and his defence suffered a major breakdown incommunication and the ball was passed straight into the path ofsubstitute Hoang Danh Ngoc, who gratefully accepted the gift and passedthe ball into the empty net.

The Vietnamese playerspushed for the winner, with Son coming close several times, but thevisitors held out and the match ended in a well-fought draw.-VNA

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