Singapore face stern test in Vietnam in AFF U23 Championship

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Singapore will be looking to get back to winning ways when they face Vietnam at Prince Stadium on February 19 as they head into the game after a disappointing 3-1 loss to Thailand.

Mohamad Nazri’s men will have to pull their socks up, however, as they struggled in all departments for most of the match, with their squad depleted due to Covid-19 obviously a legitimate excuse for their troubles.

Playmaker Saifullah Akbar’s presence could be key if he can get more involved in the gameplay to rock Singapore, with the supporting cast of Dane Qayyum and Jared Gallagher also proving a point.

Abdul Rasaq looked sharp after coming off the bench and getting into good positions. With a bit more luck, he might even have had his name on the scoresheet, but it remains to be seen if Nazri decides to give the player a start.

SINGAPORE U23 RECENT RESULTS

Meanwhile, Vietnam was one of the first teams to start their preparation for the AFF U23 Championship.

Head coach Dinh The Nam summoned the players of the U-21 team for the preparatory training camp which started on January 5 at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Center.

The tactician wants to use this competition as a platform to develop players for the Southeast Asian Games to be held in Hanoi later in 2022. Most of the players were chosen based on their performances at the National U21 Championship from Vietnam.

“Like other teams, Vietnam also prepared well for this competition,” said coach Dinh The Nam. “We trained for a month. And we will aim for the highest possible place,” he added.

VIETNAM U23 RECENT RESULTS

The experienced coach had already led the Vietnam U16 team to the quarter-finals of the AFC Championship in 2016 and luck has worked with a number of players from this team before.

He believes Vietnam has enough attacking firepower to confuse the opposition, but an inexperienced backline remains a concern for him.

“I have confidence in the front line but the defense is not good enough. The defenders are not fully focused and still lack confidence,” he said.

However, in the AFC Asian Under-23 Cup qualifiers, they had a magnificent run by qualifying for the finals without dropping a single point. They also maintained clean sheets in both matches.

It is expected that the Gold Star Warriors will give everything to make a winning start to the tournament and have a foothold in the round of 16 before facing Thailand on February 22.

Group C table

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