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Vietnam suffer disappointing loss to Indonesia in World Cup qualifiers
  • | VNS | March 22, 2024 07:42 AM

Vietnam lost by a goal to nil away at Indonesia in their third match of Group F in the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on Thursday.

Nhâm Mạnh Dũng (11) and teammates struggled against a strong Indonesia side with naturalised players such as Christian Hubner (18).

A single strike from Egy Maulana Vikri was enough to seal the victory for the Garuda, dropping the Golden Star Warriors to third place in the group.

2023 Vietnamese Golden Ball winner Nguyễn Hoàng Đức returned to Philippe Troussier's line-up after he was not selected for the Asian Cup, with SEA Games hero Nhâm Mạnh Dũng starting up front.

In a heated Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on an awful pitch, both teams started the match slowly with Vietnam the better in the first 15 minutes. A great chance fell to Nguyễn Đình Bắc in the 12th minute, but the youngster squandered the opportunity.

Ten minutes later, Vietnam had a good shout for a penalty when Hoàng Đức was brought down inside Indonesia's penalty area, but the referee waved play on, adamant that the defender got to the ball first.

Indonesia's got their first dangerous chance in the 30th minute after captain Đỗ Hùng Dũng lost possession in midfield. The ball found Rafael Struick, who fired a powerful shot that went straight to goalkeeper Nguyễn Filip.

The match's pace was slowed down even more by fouls from Indonesian players, and the first half soon came to an end with a goalless score line.

Coach Shin Tae-yong brought on three substitutions after the break, with the goliath defender Sandy Walsh, throw-in specialist Pratama Arhan and midfielder Egy Maulana Vikri entering the field.

Two of those substitutions worked wonderfully, as Pratama and Egy Maulana combined to open the score for Indonesia in the 51st minute. From Pratama's signature long throw, the ball went straight inside the box, rebounded off Võ Minh Trọng's leg and fell to the feet of Egy Maulana. Indonesia's number 10 easily tapped into give the lead for the men in red.

Vietnam tried to reply six minutes later when Mạnh Dũng had space and time near the edge of the box, but the striker's shot was way off target. Troussier brought on Văn Thanh, Văn Toàn, Tiến Linh, Tấn Tài and Thành Long but did not create any danger whatsoever.

Vietnamese attackers did not have their best day, with a staggering zero shots on target recorded. The defence was even more woeful, as Vietnam could have conceded their second in added time, had it not been for Filip's talent in goal.

The Indonesians stayed strong in the final minutes as Vietnam pushed on for the equaliser, and successfully defended their narrow 1-0 victory.

"We prepared for the throw-in, but everything happens too fast," said midfielder Nguyễn Thái Sơn after the match.

"We would try our best to win the game at home, to keep our hopes alive for qualification."

With this defeat, Vietnam are now in third place with only three points, whereas Indonesia jumped from bottom of the group to second place.

Vietnam needs a victory in the rematch at home in Mỹ Đình National Stadium next Tuesday and another defeat would spell doom for the team's qualification hopes.

It would also pile on the pressure to Philippe Troussier as Vietnam national team head coach.

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