Việt Nam celebrates after beating Maldives at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers, held in Tajikistan on Thursday. — Photo AFC
HÀ NỘI — The head coach of the Vietnamese national women’s football team expressed his dissatisfaction with his team after their opening Group B victory against the Maldives on Thursday.
Việt Nam sent a message of intent to the rest of their group in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 qualifiers in Tajikistan, beating the Maldives 16-0. This is the biggest victory in the history of the national women’s team, but coach Mai Đức Chung felt they could have converted more.
“I am not really satisfied with the team’s play. Our scoring performance is not good. In the first half, the players missed a lot of opportunities. If we knew how to make better use of the ball, we could have scored 20 goals, maybe more. We won this match because the opponents were too weak, not because we were too strong. We will have to overcome this shortcoming,” said Chung after the match.
“Through this match, we will gain experience and focus on the next game. We will meet the hosts in the next match. It will definitely be more difficult than this one,” Chung added.
Chung’s worries aren’t unfounded; Việt Nam is aiming high in the Asian Cup in the hopes of qualifying for the 2023 FIFA World Cup.
Competing against underdogs in the Maldives, Chung opted for a mixture of experience and fresh blood in his team. Opportunities were given to younger players like striker Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhã and defender Hoàng Thị Loan, shored up with experienced veterans like Cù Thị Huỳnh Như and Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung.
Việt Nam signalled their intent from kick-off, scoring after just 13 minutes. Nhã rewarding her coaches faith in her by firing in from inside the penalty area.
Just three minutes after breaking the deadlock, Vietnamese pressure paid off as the Maldives turned the ball into the back of their own net. 3-0 came only a minute later as midfielder Dung fired home.
Việt Nam controlled proceeding from there on out, scoring two more goals in the first half, courtesy of Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Ngân and Lê Thị Thùy Trang.
The half-time break did little to rally the Maldives and Việt Nam kept up the pressure, keeping a clean sheet and scoring an additional 11 goals, including six second-half goals for striker Phạm Hải Yến.
The clean sheet could prove important in Group B. Since Afghanistan’s withdrawal from the tournament, only one team from Group B will progress.
Việt Nam will next meet the hosts Tajikistan next Wednesday, September 29 at 8pm. — VNS