In Hubei, China, forward Nguyen Tien Linh was the star scoring both goals.
He had started for the senior team in their goalless World Cup qualifying game against Thailand last Thursday, but was lackluster and subbed after the first half.
But coach Park Hang-seo started him and the 21-year-old repaid his faith and how! In the 18th minute he struck the ball beautifully into the top far corner from a pass from Ho Tan Tai to open the scoring.
With the early goal Vietnam confidently held possession in midfield despite being pressed by China. China’s only good chance of the first half came from a mistake by defender Bui Tien Dung who let Liu Ruofan get the ball from behind and take a shot. Luckily for him, goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung (same name as the defender) managed to save it.
In the second half, Park replaced goalkeeper Dung with Nguyen Van Toan, who made some mistakes though China could not take advantage of them.
Vietnam put the pressure back on China with the mobility of the midfield duo Ngo Hong Phuoc and Truong Van Thai Quy. They constantly threatened the Chinese defense and took a number of shots at Guo Quanbo’s goal.
Under great pressure, the Chinese defense made mistakes and conceded the second goal in the 58th minute.
Just like the first time, Tai dribbled past a China defender on the right flank and passed inside the box for an unmarked Linh to tap in.
China desperately tried to score in the remaining time. Wen Jiabao took two shots from within the box, but they were stopped by the Vietnamese defenders.
China’s subsequent efforts were harmless as they tried to cross into the box to look for headers.
After the game Park said, "We won this match, but most importantly we played better than our own expectations, and I’m satisfied with that.
"But a friendly is not enough to assess correctly. China had more possession while Vietnam counter-attacked. [We] can’t say we played better than them.
Hiddink did not consider the loss as a disaster.
"Of course we don’t like to lose. My players surely have learned a lot from this failure today.
"We need more time to fix our flaws and improve the squad. China still have a few friendlies to prepare for the AFC U23 Championship next year."
Vietnam's preparations for the SEA Games 30 in Philippines in November look solid so far. The China friendly was an opportunity for Park to select players for the final squad.
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