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New Viettel coach confident ahead of AFC Cup

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Viettel players train in HCM City ahead of their opening AFC Cup game against Young Elephants. Photo courtesy of Viettel FC

HÀ NỘI — Coach Bae Ji-won is confident his Viettel side can get off to a winning start to their AFC Cup campaign, despite only being in charge for a few weeks. 

The former Vietnamese national champions will play Young Elephants of Laos today in a Group I fixture at the Thống Nhất Stadium in HCM City.

Bae was assigned to lead the team at the continental tournament after head coach Trương Việt Hoàng asked for a rest.

“I am under no pressure because I have worked with the team for long period. We understand each other on and off the field,” Bae said at the press conference yesterday.

“I believe that I can help my players earn good results from this competition,” said Bae, who signed a contract with Viettel as a fitness coach in January.

“We are well prepared and we are set to advance to the next round. A good result here will be a strong push for us to compete at the V.League 1’s second period (early next month),” said Bae, who is a former assistant coach to the Việt Nam national football team.

In the Asian Cup matches, Viettel will welcome back young players such as Nguyễn Thanh Bình, Nhâm Mạnh Dũng and Trần Danh Trung, who just won the SEA Games 31 gold medal and grabbed remarkable results from the AFC U23 Asian Cup.

Other potential stars like Nguyễn Hữu Thắng, Nguyễn Xuân Kiên and Trương Tiến Anh are expected to shine along, with the veteran teammates Nguyễn Hoàng Đức and Hồ Khắc Ngọc, as well as foreign players Geovane Magno and Pedro Paulo Alves Vieira Dos Reis.

“I will have plans for different matches. Every player will have the opportunity to compete. Young players will get a chance to show their talent,” said Bae, who confirmed his skipper Bùi Tiến Dũng will be absent because of injury.

“He suffered a complicated knee problem and will be out for a long time. However, we have substitutes in his place and they will do the job well.”

Bae said he had no information about Young Elephants, but it is not really important because the Lao team would not know clearly about his team. Viettel will focus on their playing style and players should follow the tactics.

On the visiting side, coach Satya Sagara said he did not hear about Viettel’s coaching change or injured captain, but will keep his eye on midfielder Hoàng Đức, a national team player, who was highlighted by the AFC recently.

Sagara said it was the Elephants’ first time at the continental tournament so the key task is to gain experience and play for Laos’ pride.

Young Elephants are the leading football club in Laos, contributing 80 per cent of players in the national team. They have signed a contract with striker Aee Soe of Myanmar, midfielder Lucas Paulista of Brazil and two Japanese players, midfielder Shori Murata and forward Ryota Yanagizono.

In the Lao League 2022, Young Elephants are enjoying an unbeaten streak of seven wins and two draws. They have scored 21 goals while conceding only three.

Viettel vs Young Elephants will kick off at 5 pm with ticket prices at VNĐ100,000-200,000 (US$4.30-8.60) each.

The other teams in the group are Phnom Penh Crown of Cambodia and Hougang United of Singapore. Their match will be held at 9 pm, also at Thống Nhất.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1252845/new-viettel-coach-confident-ahead-of-afc-cup.html

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Europa League kings Sevilla beat Roma on penalties to win seventh crown

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BUDAPEST — Europa League thoroughbreds Sevilla worked their magic yet again to beat AS Roma 4-1 on penalties on Wednesday and lift the trophy for a record-extending seventh time, handing Roma boss Jose Mourinho his first defeat in six European finals.

After an unspectacular match ended 1-1 after extra time, Sevilla ruthlessly punished the Italians in the shootout, with Gonzalo Montiel firing home the winning spot kick, just as he did for Argentina in the World Cup final against France.

The defender had missed his first effort but was handed a reprieve when Roma keeper Rui Patricio was adjudged to have come off the line too early and he made no mistake with his second, sparking jubilant celebrations.

Sevilla keeper Yassine Bounou was their hero in the shootout, saving penalties from Gianluca Mancini and Roger Ibanez while the Spaniards were flawless in their own execution, scoring their first four.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 AS Roma's Lorenzo Pellegrini looks dejected as he goes to collect his runner-up medal. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – Europa League – Final – Sevilla v AS Roma – Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary – June 1, 2023 AS Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini looks dejected as he goes to collect his runner-up medal. Photo: Reuters

Sevilla, the undisputed kings of the Europa League, have now won all seven of the finals they have played in the competition, and are well-versed in the drama of the occasion, having seen their opponents score first in the last four finals.

It was a tense and ill-tempered affair from the start on Wednesday, with Roma defending deep with a five-man backline against Sevilla, who had almost 65% possession but were kept mostly outside the Italian’s crowded box.

The match was tetchy with referee Anthony Taylor dishing out 14 yellow cards, the most ever in a Europa League game, and playing almost 30 minutes of stoppage time in total.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 AS Roma's Rui Patricio in action during the penalty shoot-out. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – Europa League – Final – Sevilla v AS Roma – Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary – June 1, 2023 AS Roma’s Rui Patricio in action during the penalty shoot-out. Photo: Reuters

Paulo Dybala gave Roma the lead from a counter-attack in the 35th minute but Sevilla then took control of the game and found the equaliser thanks to an own-goal by Mancini in the 55th minute.

Sevilla dominated the match after that but Roma had the better chances from counter-attacks and set-pieces, including a Chris Smalling header that hit the crossbar in the 10th minute of added time in extra time.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 Sevilla players celebrate after winning the Europa League. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – Europa League – Final – Sevilla v AS Roma – Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary – June 1, 2023 Sevilla players celebrate after winning the Europa League. Photo: Reuters

Difficult season

Sevilla maintained their incredible record in the competition after an otherwise difficult season.

Languishing in the bottom half of LaLiga for a large part of a campaign in which they fired two managers, Sevilla only rediscovered their form after exiting the Champions League.

Their run to the final saw them beat PSV Eindhoven, Fenerbahce and Manchester United before downing Juventus in the semis.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 Sevilla's Gonzalo Montiel scores a penalty during the shoot-out to win the Europa League. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – Europa League – Final – Sevilla v AS Roma – Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary – June 1, 2023 Sevilla’s Gonzalo Montiel scores a penalty during the shoot-out to win the Europa League. Photo: Reuters

“It was a Sevilla-style match. We have to suffer to win,” Lucas Ocampos told Spanish TV channel Movistar Plus.

“This is not easy. What we have with this competition is something that cannot be explained.”

It was the third consecutive Europa League final that ended in a penalty shootout.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 AS Roma's Andrea Belotti and teammates look dejected after the match. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – Europa League – Final – Sevilla v AS Roma – Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary – June 1, 2023 AS Roma’s Andrea Belotti and teammates look dejected after the match. Photo: Reuters

The win means Sevilla will compete in next season’s Champions League despite finishing outside the top four in the LaLiga.

Mourinho had never lost a European final before Wednesday, having last year led Roma to the inaugural Europa Conference League title, becoming the first coach to win all the European trophies.

Soccer Football - Europa League - Final - Sevilla v AS Roma - Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary - June 1, 2023 Sevilla players throw coach Jose Mendilibar in the air as they celebrate winning the Europa League. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – Europa League – Final – Sevilla v AS Roma – Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary – June 1, 2023 Sevilla players throw coach Jose Mendilibar in the air as they celebrate winning the Europa League. Photo: Reuters

Losing was clearly a painful experience for the Portuguese who handed his runners-up medal to a fan in the stand after the presentation.

“That’s what I did, I don’t want silver medals. I don’t keep silver medals, so I gave it away,” he told Movistar.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20230601/europa-league-kings-sevilla-beat-roma-on-penalties-to-win-seventh-crown/73500.html

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Bolt desperate for impactful role in track and field

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Usain Bolt said he is desperate to play a role in reviving the sport that made him a global superstar but has experienced something of a decline since his retirement six years ago.

The Jamaican, who dominated men’s sprinting for nearly a decade after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, said he had found plenty to do to keep himself busy but was really keen to remain involved in sport.

“I spend my time doing a lot of family things, when it comes to track and field, not as much as I would want to but I still try and stay in touch with what is going on,” the 36-year-old told Reuters.

“I’m still waiting on a position from (World Athletics), I’ve reached out to them and let them know I would love to make a bigger impact in sports, as long as they want me to.

“We’ve been in talks but we’ll have to wait and see what comes around.”

Bolt added that he was aware his personality was a vital ingredient in the success of track and field during his era but thought he could see signs that athletes like U.S. sprinter Noah Lyles might be starting to fill the charisma gap.

“It’s going to be a process. After me, it kind of went down because of who I was as a person, and how big my personality was,” added the eight-times Olympic gold medallist.

“But I think over time it will be better. I think young athletes are coming up and I see a few personalities that are needed in sport, hopefully in the upcoming years it will change.

“Hopefully I can play a part and help the sport to grow.”

There was disappointment at the crowds for last year’s World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, but Bolt thought that next year’s Paris Olympics could be a special moment for the sport.

“Sometimes it’s all about where it is, America is not the biggest track and field place,” he said.

“I think Paris will be big, because it’s accessible and I know Paris always has a good team and good athletes over the years. So I look forward to that.”

After a decade of Bolt-inspired global dominance, Jamaica’s men have failed to win a single track gold medal at the last two World Championships.

At this year’s championships in Budapest, however, Bolt sees some promise of success in young sprinters Oblique Seville and Ackeem Blake.

“Last year, Seville came fourth (in the 100m) so I was very impressed. Also now there’s a young kid, Ackeem Blake, who is also stepping up. So I think that’s a good start,” the 11-times world champion said.

“Hopefully these two will motivate other youngsters to want to step up, and want to train harder and dedicate themselves.”

Jamaica are still dominant in the women’s sprints and Bolt said he would be keeping a close eye on compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce at the World Championships in August.

Fraser-Pryce, also 36, will be seeking a record-extending sixth world 100m title in Hungary, 14 years after making her debut in the global showpiece of track and field.

“I follow Shelly a lot because we came through the same era so to see her continue sprinting and coming back from having a child, that’s impressive,” said Bolt.

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20230531/bolt-desperate-for-impactful-role-in-track-and-field/73478.html

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Vietnam to play int’l football friendly against Syria next month

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Vietnam will face Syria in an international friendly next month in preparation for their 2026 FIFA World Cup and 2027 AFC Asian Cup qualification campaigns, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) announced on its website on Monday evening. 

The Vietnamese national football team, ranked 95th in the FIFA world ranking, will host Syria, in the 90th position, at Thien Truong Stadium in northern Nam Dinh Province on June 20.

They see this as a valuable opportunity to sharpen their skills, considering Syria’s slightly higher global ranking. 

The presence of renowned coach Hector Cuper leading the Syrian team also adds to the significance of the occasion.

The seasoned 65-year-old coach previously managed well-known European football clubs such as Valencia, Inter Milan, Real Betis, and Parma. 

Prior to taking charge of the Syrian national team, he had coaching stints with national teams such as Egypt, Uzbekistan, and Congo.

Five days before the Syria match, Vietnam will play Hong Kong in another international friendly game, which will also be their first since the appointment of new head coach Philippe Troussier in February, at Lach Tray Stadium in northern Hai Phong City on June 15.

In anticipation of the games in June, the Vietnamese national football team players are scheduled to regroup on June 7.

Previously, the VFF announced that Vietnam will play two more international friendlies in September and October this year before two matches in the 2026 World Cup and 2027 Asian Cup qualifiers, taking place on November 13 and 21, respectively.

Vietnam’s opponents for these matches will be determined following a draw in July.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20230530/vietnam-to-play-intl-football-friendly-against-syria-next-month/73459.html

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