Thu, Mar 23, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan hang on to draw 1-1 with Vietnam

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan last night fought off a tough challenge from Vietnam to hold on for a 1-1 draw in an international friendly at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium, with the result likely to bolster the national squad’s confidence ahead of their home clash against Turkmenistan in an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup qualifier on Sunday.

Taiwan’s starting back four, anchored by Yaki Yen, the Taiwanese-Spanish fullback who plays for Changchun Yatai FC in China’s top division, provided the defensive spine for the national squad, managing to keep attack-minded Vietnam players in check throughout the game.

Taiwan goalkeeper Chiu Yu-hung had a busy match, with the hosts’ forays into the visitors’ half resulting in numerous good opportunities in front of the goal area, but they could not convert.

It was mostly one-way traffic through most of the proceedings, with Vietnam’s players keen to impress home fans and seeking a big win against Taiwan.

Vietnam captain Le Cong Vinh, winger A Hoang and forward Nguyen Cong Phuong were especially dangerous, launching repeated incursions into the goal area, but Chiu frustrated them with key blocks and saves.

Chiu and Taiwan’s back four were also lucky, as the hosts could have scored several goals, had they not hit the posts and the upright on three occasions, but Vietnam’s players had only themselves to blame for squandering their many chances.

Two late goals settled the result, with Taiwan defender Lee Pin-hsien making a breakthrough to score in the 84th minute for the visitors to take a surprising one-goal lead, much to the consternation of home fans in Hanoi.

With both sides showing signs of fatigue in the final 10 minutes, Taiwan piled into Vietnam’s 18-yard box and Lee slotted home a wayward shot from the right side during a goal-mouth scramble for the lead.

However, Vietnam found the equalizer three minutes later, when a long pass from midfield found forward Nguyen just outside of the 18-yard box, with his shot deflecting off a defender and finding its way into the goal to level it at 1-1.

The hosts tried to get another goal for the victory, but Taiwan hung on for the draw.

Manager Kazuo Kuroda will use the performance to find positive improvement and boost the team’s confidence for Sunday’s qualifier against Turkmenistan, which is to start at 6pm at the Taipei Municipal Stadium.

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