Việt Nam to play powerful Saudi Arabia in AFC U23 quarters

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UP NEXT: Vietnamese players train ahead of the AFC U23 Championship quarter-final on Sunday against Saudi Arabia. Photo of VFF

HÀ NỘI — Gong Oh-kyun gave his team some much needed R&R ahead of their tough quarter-final against Saudi Arabia in the AFC U23 Championship on Sunday.

He let the squad relax by the swimming pool for a day before returning to training in preparation for the big game.

The South Korean coach has guided the Southeast Asian champions to the last-eight round after finishing second in the group stages. This is the second time in a row they have reached the quarters.

The 2-0 result over Malaysia on May 8 was Gong’s first win since he officially took charge of the team after the recent SEA Games 31.

He said teams in this round were difficult but he had plans for the match and anyone of his players could be fielded as all of them were in good condition.

Coach Saad Al-Shehri of Saudi Arabia admitted he had not watched a single Việt Nam game in this tournament but said he knew they are a strong, well-organised team, and would spend time to analysing the opponent.

However, he said his players were energetic for the quarters after beating the UAE to top Group D although they had one day rest less than the Vietnamese.

Midfielder Hamed Al-Ghamdi also appreciated Việt Nam and feels they could play for extra time and even penalties, but he said Saudi are aiming for victory within 90 minutes.

Defender Saud Abdulhamid, who is also the captain, and midfielder Ibrahim Mahnashi will miss the game through suspension after picking up two yellow cards.

In this tournament, each team can supplement two players for the knockout stage as per regulations.

Việt Nam have never beat Saudi Arabia in any U23 tournament. Saudi Arabia advanced to the final last time around and lost 0-1 to South Korea in extra time.

In the other quart-finals, on Saturday Turkmenistan face Australia and Uzbekistan play Iraq. South Korea go against Japan on Sunday.

All matches will be live on VTV6 channel from 8pm Hà Nội time. VNS

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