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Big things expected from Việt Nam’s very own ‘Roberto Carlos’




Defender Lê Văn Xuân of Việt Nam (right) manages a ball during the match against Chinese Taipei at the AFC U23 Asian Cup on October 27. Photo courtesy of VFF

Thanh Hà

HÀ NỘI  Lê Văn Xuân isn’t your typical footballer. In his own words, he describes himself as “a little short, a little heavy and very quiet”.

The 21-year-old defender also suffers from a rapid heart rate, but despite these obstacles, he has started making a name for himself for club and country.

Last Wednesday, Xuân scored the only goal for the U23’s in their victory over Chinese Taipei with a finish you would normally expect from a striker.

Remaining humble despite scoring his first competitive goal for the national team, Xuân said after the match: “The win is important for our team and we have to strive harder in the next match.”

Born in 1999 in Thanh Hóa Province, Xuân was recruited to the PVF football centre in 2010.

Xuân understood he had a disadvantage because he was so small, but worked hard to sharpen his technique and strengthen his physique.

He became captain of the PFV team that won the national titles at U13, U15, U17 and U19 levels from 2012 to 2017 along with securing second place in the Second Division league in 2016.

His hard work paid off and he was offered a contract with Hà Nội FC in 2018.

The early days in the capital did not quite go as planned, and he was sent to League 2 side Hồng Lĩnh Hà Tĩnh on loan last season to gain more match playing experience.

“He is kind of multi-purposed player as he can play well in different positions,” said Nguyễn Việt Thắng, coach of PVF.

“He has good pace over short distances and makes impressive runs to beat other players. He can also score with both feet.

“He also strikes a free kick well from the edge of the box that can threaten any goalkeeper.”

Hà Tĩnh coach Phạm Minh Đức said Xuân has the potential to become an excellent player, adding that as well as defending, he can also play as a winger or in midfield..

After helping Hà Tĩnh win promotion to the V.League 1 in 2020, he returned to Hà Nội where he replaced talented defender Đoàn Văn Hậu who went abroad to play for Heerenveen in Holland. 

“His small size prevents Xuân from stopping high balls well and he is at a disadvantage when facing tall and big foreign forwards, ” Coach Chu Đình Nghiêm said.

“But he was not scared of anyone. He can use both his muscle power and his skill in different situations.”

His skills and determination, and the size of his thighs, have earned him the nickname Xuân Carlos after the legendary Brazilian fullback, Roberto Carlos.

He is also called the “big lung man” because of the amount of energy he possesses and the fact he never stops running.

Lê Văn Xuân (centre) during a march against the Sài Gòn FC. Photo of

After moving back to V.League 1 Xuân did need time to adjust and he also had to make do with a place on the bench until his chance came along.

“I had to catch up with the pace of the team and V.League 1 which is much faster than the V.League 2,” Xuân said.

“I am under pressure when replacing Hậu in defence. As a substitute, I have to show that I am better, more useful and work more effectively than him.

“But pressure also makes me push harder. I watch different players and learn the best skills from them. I am lucky to have the opportunity to play in a strong team that help me to play better. I still need to practise a lot.”

Việt Nam’s national coach Park Hang-seo could not ignore Xuân for his international tournaments.

Xuân was first called to Park’s U23 team in 2019 for the Asian championship’s qualifier. He was also a substitute for Việt Nam’s 2022 World Cup campaign early this month before joining the ongoing U23 event in Kazakhstan.

“I am totally a team player. I think that individual performances mean nothing if the team’s result is not good. Players should do best for team’s winning which is the key in football.”

Lê Văn Xuân (right) training for the U23 Asian Cup in Kazakhstan. Photo courtesy of VFF

After 10 years in the game, Xuân said he still has it all to do but believes earning a regular place in the national team is his major goals right now.

“My targets will be an official place in the U22 team to compete at the 31st SEA Games and the national senior squad at the AFF Cup in December. I know, it will be difficult but I will do my best to make it a turning point in my career,” he said. 



Vietnam wins 3 gold medals at Aerobic Gymnastics Asian Championship



Vietnamese gymnasts grabbed three gold medals, three silvers, and a bronze at the eighth Aerobic Gymnastics Asian Championship held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from September 13 to 17.

The three gold medals included one Tran Ha Vi earned in the women’s singles event.

The remaining two gold medals were secured in the doubles event by Le Hoang Phong and Tran Ngoc Thuy Vi and in the group category by Le Hoang Phong, Tran Ngoc Thuy Vi, Nguyen Che Thanh, Vuong Hoai An, and Nguyen Viet Anh.

The accomplishment placed the Vietnamese aerobics team at the top of the medal standings for the adult age group as the tournament concluded on Sunday.

Fourteen Asian countries and territories joined the competition.

Mongolia, Cambodia, and Taiwan followed closely behind Vietnam, with each of them securing one gold medal.

Simultaneously, the Vietnamese youth aerobics team also achieved three silver medals and two bronzes in the 15-17-year-old categories at the tournament.

The silver medals went to Nguyen Tat Viet in boys’ singles, Phan Thi Uyen Nhi in girls’ singles, and Phan Thi Uyen Nhi, Nguyen Hoang Gia Han, and Nguyen Duong Quynh in the trio event. 

The bronze medals were awarded to Nguyen Tat Viet and Nguyen Phuong Anh in doubles and Nguyen Thi Phuong, Nguyen Thi Phuong, and Nguyen Ngoc Bao Han in the group category.

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Man United lose again, Guardiola back to see City comeback win



MANCHESTER, England – Manchester United slumped to a third Premier League loss of the season at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday as Pep Guardiola returned to see Manchester City side’s 3-1 comeback win at West Ham United.

Fightbacks were the order of the day as Liverpool recovered from falling behind to win 3-1 at Wolverhampton Wanderers in the early kickoff and two goals deep into stoppage time earned Tottenham Hotspur a 2-1 win over Sheffield United.

After another tumultuous week off the pitch for Manchester United, the club needed the players to lift their supporters.

Brighton ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, however, to ensure United suffered three defeats in the first five matches of a league campaign for the first time since 1989-90, leaving them languishing 13th in the table.

United fell behind in the 20th minute when Danny Welbeck slotted home against his former club when left unmarked in the penalty area.

Big-money signing Rasmus Hojlund, on his full debut, thought he had levelled before the break, but the ball was adjudged to be out of play when Marcus Rashford pulled the ball back to the Danish striker.

Brighton capitalised on that VAR reprieve as fine goals from Pascal Gross early in the second half and a Joao Pedro strike brought groans of dismay all around Old Trafford.

Substitute Hannibal Mejbri did get one back for the hosts with 18 minutes left but Brighton held on comfortably to move up to third on 12 points.

“Definitely that (losing three from five for the first time in Premier League history) is something that bothers me, but also I have to seen the way we play,” coach Erik ten Hag said.

“It is about character, we have to see how strong we are, stick together. We have to be very disappointed and annoyed at ourselves. We will turn this. There is a demand on us.”

Never-say-die City

Having recovered from back surgery, Guardiola would have been pleased with the fighting spirit of his team at London Stadium.

New signing Jeremy Doku, Bernardo Silva and Erling Haaland scored second-half goals to cancel out James Ward-Prowse’s strike and maintain City’s perfect record this season. They top the standings, two points ahead of Liverpool and three clear of Brighton.

City have now started a league campaign with five consecutive victories for the fifth time in their history, although their highest finish in any of those campaigns was third.

“I’d prefer to be here than to do a surgery that’s for sure,” Guardiola told the BBC.

“All game we played a fantastic game. Even when we were losing against at half-time. We were efficient, we were patient in the second-half. It was a big win after the international break. The team showed good spirit to survive.”

Wolves dominated the first half at Molineux against an unusually sluggish Liverpool, Hwang Hee-chan stroking in a seventh-minute goal and Wolves missing other chances.

Liverpool came out transformed in the second half, however, drawing level when Mohamed Salah set up fellow striker Cody Gakpo for a tap-in.

Wearing the captain’s armband on his 200th Premier League appearance, Andy Robertson slid in Liverpool’s second from another Salah pass in the 85th minute and they added a third in stoppage time.

There were further scenes of jubilation at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tottenham were heading for their first Premier League defeat under Ange Postecoglou as they trailed to Gustavo Hamer’s goal against the run of play in the 75th minute.

But substitute Richarlison ended his goal drought with the equaliser in the eighth of 12 minutes added on and set up Dejan Kulusevski for the winner as Tottenham made it four wins in a row and 13 points from 15 — their best start to a top-flight season since 1965-66.

Late goals also helped Aston Villa storm back to beat Crystal Palace 3-1, Fulham secured a 1-0 victory over Luton Town, and Newcastle United move up to 11th with a 1-0 home win over Brentford, their first win in four league games.


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S.Korean football club bids farewell to Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Toan



Seoul E-Land Football Club, currently playing in K-League 2, or the men’s second-highest division of the South Korean football league system, made an announcement bidding farewell to Vietnamese forward Nguyen Van Toan on Friday evening, prematurely ending his contract.

In a message in Korean on their verified Facebook page, Seoul E-Land stated that Toan ended his services at the football club and will be transferring to a different team in Vietnam.

“I felt extremely anxious when I first ventured overseas. I want to express my gratitude to the team, my fellow players, and all the individuals who treated me like family. It’s disheartening to bid farewell. But I must make a decision as a player,” the club cited the 1996-born striker.

Toan left Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) FC, where he had built his professional career after his training years, to move to Seoul E-Land in January on a two-year contract.

At Seoul E-Land Club, Toan played a total of 388 minutes across nine appearances, four of which were starts, with no goals or assists recorded.

His last appearance for the South Korean team was on June 4. 

Following that, he sustained an injury and was sidelined for an extended period until his return to the Vietnamese national team for preparations leading up to the friendly match against Palestine in Vietnam on September 11 and contributed to the 2-0 win that day.

According to the announcement from Seoul E-Land Club, the 1996-born striker is currently in active negotiations with Nam Dinh Football Club in preparation for the 2023-24 V. League 1 season. 

Multiple sources suggest a strong likelihood that Toan will rejoin Nam Dinh in the top-tier V. League 1 on a lucrative three-year contract.

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