Connect with us


Lewandowski misses penalty as Poland draw 0-0 with Mexico at World Cup



Poland and Mexico played out an entertaining 0-0 draw in their opening Word Cup Group C game on Tuesday, with Polish skipper Robert Lewandowski failing to break his tournament duck when his second-half penalty was saved at Stadium 974.

Lewandowski earned the penalty after a VAR check 11 minutes into the second half when Hector Moreno tugged at his shirt. However, the striker, who has never scored at the World Cup, saw his shot saved by Guillermo Ochoa.

“Today I feel sorry for Robert, because I know how much he wanted to score at the World Cup,” Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz said.

“So far he has not succeeded, but I hope that in the next opportunities that lie ahead of him he will convert them into goals.”

The result leaves Saudi Arabia as surprise group leaders following their stunning 2-1 upset of Argentina, one of the pre-tournament favourites, earlier on Tuesday.

Temporary arena

In a temporary arena built using 974 recycled shipping containers that overlooks the Arabian Gulf, a sea of Mexico fans in green outnumbered their Poland counterparts and made their presence felt in the 40,000-capacity venue.

The Mexicans gave a stirring rendition of their national anthem that reduced winger Alexis Vega, who is playing at his first World Cup, to tears.

Right after kickoff the fans raised the volume with a Mexican wave that swept through the stands while the unique metal structure of the stadium reverberated as they bounced up and down with chants of “Mexico, Mexico!”

A flowing game of few fouls but fewer chances came to life around the half-hour mark when Vega saw his header fly wide before Jesus Gallardo was denied with a last-man tackle when he had an open goal at his mercy two minutes later.

Mexico had the bulk of possession but without Raul Jimenez spearheading the attack, Henry Martin struggled to get on the end of chances in the box.

At the other end, Poland failed to get Lewandowski involved as the Barcelona striker – who has scored 18 goals for the Spanish club this season – received little service. Both keepers finished the first half without having to make a save.

As Poland struggled to impose themselves, the Mexican fans chanted “Ole” for every pass their team completed.

With Poland losing the midfield battle, coach Czeslaw Michniewicz made a halftime substitution by hauling off Nicola Zalewski and bringing on central midfielder Krystian Bielik, which allowed Piotr Zielinski to play in an advanced role.

The tactical change seemed to work initially as Poland created chances and eventually won the penalty as Moreno desperately tried to prevent Lewandowski from taking a free shoton goal.

After a lengthy VAR check, Lewandowski stepped up to take the penalty and as both sets of fans in the stadium held their breath, he shot low but Ochoa dived to his left to deny the Pole before his team mates cleared the danger.

Poland's Robert Lewandowski with teammates after the match. Photo: Reuters

Poland’s Robert Lewandowski with teammates after the match. Photo: Reuters

‘Watch his videos’

Ochoa, who forged his reputation as a reliable shot-stopper who ups his game at World Cup tournaments, was fired up after the save while the Mexican fans jeered as Lewandowski held his head with both hands.

“We worked on that (watching Lewandowski videos) with the goalkeeper coach for a month,” a smiling Ochoa said.

“It’s always difficult to watch his penalty videos, you watch more than 15-20 penalties, so you never know which side to choose. In the end I’m happy to save the penalty, he’s a great striker.”

Not to be outdone by Ochoa’s brilliance, Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny underlined his credentials moments later when he reacted quickly to change direction and keep out Martin’s glancing header.

Mexico coach Gerardo Martino eventually brought on Jimenez with 20 minutes to go in the second half to replace Martin but the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker returning from a long injury lay-off failed to have a shot on goal.

“We were on the front foot in the first half, we deserved an advantage at halftime,” Martino said, adding that they became “predictable and cautious” as the game wore on.

“The penalty was a mistake from us but in general terms I think we should have won the game given what we did in the first half.”



National Sports Games to take part in December



National Sports Games

The ninth National Sports Games will begin open on December in 11 cities and provinces with Quảng Ninh the main locality. The NSG will be the largest in scale with more than 17,000 participants. Photo

HÀ NỘI — The 2022 National Sports Games (NSG) will be held in Quảng Ninh Province from December 9-21.

This is the ninth time the event has been organised and will attract more than 17,000 athletes, coaches, officials, referees, staff, volunteers and others.

The Games will see delegations from 63 cities and provinces, the military and public security teams.

Quảng Ninh will be the main locality hosting 21 sports. Ten other cities and provinces including Hà Nội, Hải Phòng and Bắc Ninh will take responsibility for the rest.

The opening ceremony will take place at the Sun Carnival Hạ Long Square on December 9. The closing ceremony is on December 21 at the Đại Yên Sports Complex in Hạ Long City.

“The Games which is organised quadrennially will review our sporting activities in the last four years, especially to evaluate our training and competing in elite sport,” said Dr Đặng Việt Hà, director of the Việt Nam Sports Administration.

“Through the review, we will pick up the talented athletes for the national teams which will compete in the coming international tournaments including the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia and the 19th Asian Games in China in 2023 and the qualifications for the 2024 Paris Olympics.”.

According to organisers, almost 10,000 athletes will compete in 43 sports at more than 900 events.

Hà Nội, HCM City and the Military will send the largest number of participants. They are also the title favourite teams of the Games. Meanwhile Điện Biên, Bắc Kạn and Ninh Thuận has smallest competitors.

Football and futsal are the two sports with the most athletes while golf and gymnastics have the least.

Fifteen sports will be completed prior to the opening ceremony because of their international competition schedules.

Currently, rowing events have wrapped up with HCM City topping the podium, followed by Đà Nẵng and Hải Dương.

Shooting will close today while football and karate are ongoing.

“In short, most of our preparation activities have been done. We took advantage of facilities, services and experience from the 31st SEA Games in May. We will apply all the best at the coming NSG,” said Trần Đức Phấn, head of the NSG’s Technical Subcommittee

“We also train referees and staff again to improve and update their quality and knowledge.”

About doping activities, the organisers said a Medical Subcommittee has been working hard to make sure of a fair and honest Games.

About 100 athletes will be selected to be randomly tested. The number is small compared with the total competitors but according to Nguyễn Văn Phú,  director of the Việt Nam National Center for Anti-Doping & Sports Medicine, it was double that in the 2018 Games. The shortage of expenses is the main reason for this low rate of tests.

The subcommittee officials and staff are available to popularise and support athletes and coaches on all issues concerning doping. They also carry out programmes to guide and help sports people understand clearly about this matter.

The organisers will cooperate with Health Bridge, an NGO focusing on making urban neighbourhoods more livable and conducive to healthy lifestyles, to promote sport without smoking movement.

At the eighth NSG in 2018, hosts Hà Nội topped the medal tally with 176 golds, 149 silvers and 139 bronzes. HCM City were second (118, 101, 103 ) and the Military third (59, 61, 86). VNS


Continue Reading


Sublime goals help Hà Nội brush aside Bình Định in National Cup final




Hà Nội FC players and coaches celebrate their third National Cup triumph on Saturday in Hà Nội. The club defeat BÌnh Định 2-0 in the final to defend their title. Photo of VPF

HÀ NỘI — Two world-class goals from Hà Nội FC toppled Toppenland Bình Định in the National Cup final at the Hàng Đẫy Stadium at the weekend.

Hà Nội defended their title and hold the trophy for the third season in a row, the first club to do so.

They won in 2019, 2020 and 2022, as the 2021 season was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Before the match, Bình Định’s coach Nguyễn Đức Thắng said his players were there to cause an upset and did not deny their ambition to win the National Cup for the first time.

They made Hà Nội’s players work hard to protect their net in the first half, with foreign duo Rafaelson Bezerra Fernandes and Hendrio Araujo Dasilva threatening. However, neither could find the back of the net. 

Đoàn Văn Hậu scored the opener from 30m distance. Photos courtesy of VPF

Five minutes after the break, defender Đoàn Văn Hậu opened the scoring with a screamer from 30 metres outs.

Hậu broke through the left wing and let fly for the far corner. National goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm used all his 1.88m frame but was unable to stop the ball.  

“I just wanted to test my skills. Luckily, it was a goal,” said Hậu.

“I have overcome many problems to get back to football. The goal is a strong push for me. My effort helped us get a sweet result.”

While the goal lifted Hà Nội, it put Bình Định at sixes and sevens, and they never looked likely to claw one back. 

The second goal came to Hà Nội in the 82nd minute, a sublime effort by Trương Văn Thái Quý, who took a punt from more than 70m, lobbing the red-faced goalkeeper Lâm.

Revenge was sweet for Hà Nội, who lost to Bình Định 3-0 in their recent V.League 1 match.

“It was the moment of decision. I saw Lâm was far from his net and decided to shoot. I did not think it would be a goal, but it was,” said Quý.

“Previously, I scored a goal from the central area and some lucky goals from the team, but this one is the best goal in my career, from a 70-75m. It was incredible, especially when my parents watched me from the stand.

“No words can describe my feeling now. I am blown away!!!”

Midfielder Trương Văn Thái Quý celebrates what he calls the ‘best goal of his career’. He scored from more than 70m out. 

“This is my perfect season. I have worked hard and found a spot in the first team. I have just extended my contract with Hà Nội. I have won two titles this year,” he said.

Last week, Hà Nội lifted the V.League 1 trophy, returning to the top of domestic football after the 2021 season was cancelled.

Their third National Cup places them on the same level as Sông Lam Nghệ An, who won in 2002, 2010 and 2017, and Becamex Bình Dương 1994, 2015 and 2018.

The win was also a happy ending for head coach Chun Jea-ho who will leave the club after failing to make a new deal with the club.

He is the first foreign coach to win both V.League 1 and National Cup with Hà Nội. VNS



Continue Reading


Duân wins Hanoi Midnight marathon title, eyes SEA Games slot




Vũ Đình Duân crosses the finish line to take the gold medal in the VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight on Sunday. Photos

HÀ NỘI — Vũ Đình Duân won the VnExpress Marathon Hanoi Midnight on Sunday and set himself a target of a place at the SEA Games.

Duân finished first in the men’s 42km category with a time of 2:45.15, ahead of many strong runners.

Đặng Anh Quyết, one of the top candidates of the tournament, came second clocking 2:46.02 and Tô Tấn Tài was at third on 2:46.16.

Duân could not hide his happiness after winning his first gold medal from a full marathon event. It was his second title in a row after he won a duathlon event at Aquaman Vietnam last month.

Duân completed the 5km swim and 21km run after about 1:59.24 in Quảng Ninh Province’s Móng Cái City, where he is from.

“I am very happy with the victory because VnExpress Midnight marathon is one of the largest events in the running community as almost all the strongest runners participated,” Duân said.

“After winning the Aquaman and now the Midnight marathon, I am confident in myself seeing that my results have been going up quite well. It will be a strong push for me if am to compete in the coming National Sports Games.

“I will not take part in any event until the Games in December. I will have to prepare my best for this important tournament. The high result will help me to complete my target of earning a berth in the national team for the 2023 SEA Games.”

In the women’s 42km, national team member Lèo Thị Tình finished first with a time of 3:08.31.

Lèo Thị Tình claims her first full marathon title in the VnExpress series.

Tình went ahead from the off and lead for almost all of the women’s race. She set a big gap with the closest runners before touching the finish line and winning her first VnExpress marathon title after several misses.

Thái Thị Hồng came second at 3:20.33 and Nguyễn Thị Đường was third with a time of 3:27.28.

In the half marathon class, Nguyễn Danh Cao made strong sprints to separate from the leading pack near the finish line. 

His time was 1:15.15 was more than two minutes faster than runner-up Nguyễn Hoàng Hưng. Hoàng Hữu Hanh came third on 1:17.56.

“I was a little worried as my rivals were strong,” Cao said.

“They were close to me during the race. Luckily, I separated from them in the last kilometres and won. This result was in my plan and I am happy with it.”

The women’s 21km title went to Hà Thị Hậu who ran 1:22.25. 

Hậu is a rising star in the running community as she has run for more than two years but grabbed victories in a number of trail tournaments. She has begun road races for several months.

Hậu was behind only 11 male runners in this category. 

“Winning whatever tournament gives me the same feeling, I am happy with the victory,” said Hậu.

“I do not set a winning target when running the Midnight race. I just run my best and encourage all runners that I met on the road.”

In the 10km pool, Cao Ngọc Hà, Alexandre Videau and Trần Quang Độ were the top three in the men’s race while Nguyễn Thị Nga, Đặng Thị Việt Trinh and Nguyễn Thị Ánh dominated the women’s race, respectively.

The 5km run saw Sơn Tiến Phát and Trương Đức Anh Thư as male and female winners.

A runner competes in a cosplay.

Almost 10,000 elite and amateur runners registered to participate in the event. The number was double that of the first edition in 2020.

Athletes competed in different categories of age groups, distances and genders, vying for a total bonus of VNĐ1.5 billion (US$60,500) in prize money.

Among the participants were 2,000 children from six to 10 years old, running in the Kun Marathon on Saturday morning.


Apart from main prizes, runners also compete in the category of most impressive cosplay. 

This year, organisers opened a new category for teams and 36 groups from different localities from Hà Nội to HCM City vied for the top place.

A special award was given to athletes with the best cosplay costume this year. VNS



Continue Reading