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Việt Nam want a win over Tajikistan at Asian Cup qualifier

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Football

Vietnamese players practise in Dushanbe’s Republican Central Stadium in Tajikistan. They will play the hosts on September 29 in the Group B fixture. Photo courtesy of VFF

HÀ NỘI A draw against Tajikistan will be enough for Việt Nam to secure a place in the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup finals, but the Southeast Asian champions want more than that in the last match of the qualification’s Group B on Wednesday.

Việt Nam are top of the three-team group after beating Maldives 16-0 last week. Tajikistan are in second place after they beat Maldives 4-0 on Monday.

“Tajikistan players are taller and bigger, especially the defenders, than Vietnamese but their technique is not really impressive, just in middle  level,” said coach Mai Đức Chung of Việt Nam after he witnessed the match between Tajikistan and Maldives.

“They play long ball well. They used 4-4-2 formation with two strikers who have good speed to vie for ball against Maldives.”

Chung still wants his team, currently ranked 32nd in the world, to be relaxed but not complacent against Tajikistan, who sit in 135th position globally.

Although they scored 16 goals in their first match, Chung was not satisfied with his team’s performance. He said the result did not tell the whole story. Việt Nam could score many goals because Maldives were too weak, not because his players were strong.

He said scoring was still a problem and must be improved for the next match.

“We have built up a suitable plan to face them and my players are ready for a win,” Chung said.

The match will be held at 8pm local time at the Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe City.

Following the tournament rules, only the top team of eight groups will join four squads who have taken automatic slots in the finals which will take place in India from January 20 to February 6, 2020.

For the first time in history, the finals is expanded from eight teams to twelve. Japan are the defending champions while Australia and China were second and third runners-up.

The Asian Cup will serve as the continental qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Australia have already qualified automatically as co-host. Five teams will qualify directly for the World Cup via the knockout stage (including play-offs for fifth place) and two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.

Việt Nam who missed their chances twice in play-offs for fifth place are tipped to win their first ever World Cup slot this time as it has expanded from 24 to 32 teams.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1049737/viet-nam-want-a-win-over-tajikistan-at-asian-cup-qualifier.html

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20-year-old Vietnamese rookie outperforms foreign veteran player in Game 37 of VBA

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Bui Anh Khoa has not spent too much time on the court this season, but the rookie made a strong showing in Game 37 when he shut down 2.06-meter-tall veteran Mike Bell of Hanoi Buffaloes.

David vs. Goliath

Khoa, 20, transferred to Ho Chi Minh City Wings from Cantho Catfish after VBA Draft Day 2021.

Though he has played in several amateur basketball tournaments, the VBA Premier Bubble Games – Brought to you by NovaWorld Phan Thiet has been his professional debut.

In Game 37, Khoa substituted for Makinde London.

Though Khoa was originally told to play defense, he had no issue moving the ball down the court and scoring against Mike Bell, who is not only 20 centimeters taller than him, but also far more experienced. 

Khoa’s surprising play was just the morale Ho Chi Minh City needed in order to protect their narrow lead against the Buffaloes. 

Passion for the sport

Before Khoa, London seemed to be Bell’s biggest rival on the court. 

The 25-year-old foreign player of Ho Chi Minh City Wings chalked up 31 points and 14 rebounds, helping the Wings defeat the Buffaloes in their previous second encounter.

Basketball experts commented that, while Bell was the 2018 and 2019 VBA Best Defensive Player, young players in the league are gradually making a name for themselves.

Ho Chi Minh City Wings’ Makinde London scores despite a strong defensive effort by Hanoi Buffaloes’ Mike Bell in Game 37 of the VBA Premier Bubble Games - Brought to you by NovaWorld Phan Thiet. Photo: VBA

Ho Chi Minh City Wings’ Makinde London scores despite a strong defensive effort by Hanoi Buffaloes’ Mike Bell in Game 37 of the VBA Premier Bubble Games – Brought to you by NovaWorld Phan Thiet. Photo: VBA

Ho Chi Minh City Wings’ third victory over Hanoi Buffaloes

Ho Chi Minh City Wings pulled off a 76-72 victory against Hanoi Buffaloes in Game 37 of the VBA Premier Bubble Games – Brought to you by NovaWorld Phan Thiet, thanks to cohesive play between the team’s foreign and homegrown players.

That was also Ho Chi Minh City Wings’ third win in four games against Hanoi Buffaloes.

With 23 points and 23 rebounds, Makinde London earned the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20211203/20yearold-vietnamese-rookie-outperforms-foreign-veteran-player-in-game-37-of-vba/64494.html

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New faces join women’s futsal squad ahead of SEA Games

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Futsal

The national women’s futsal team will train in HCM City from December 5 to prepare for the SEA Games. Photo of VFF

HÀ NỘI — The national women’s futsal team will begin training on December 5 in preparation for the 31st Southeast Asian Games in Hà Nội next May.

Coach Trương Quốc Tuấn has announced a list of 22 players who will meet in HCM City for the tournament. Most of them are from HCM City teams while the rest are from Hà Nội, Hà Nam and Thái Nguyên.

Apart from several seniors such as Trịnh Nguyễn Thanh Hằng, Nguyễn Thị Châu and Lê Thị Thùy Linh , the rest of the squad is made up mainly of new comers.

“Some of my experienced players retired or moved to other jobs,” Tuấn said.  

“Some others have not recovered from injuries while some of them are training with the national football team in Hà Nội, so I have to name new faces. In the next seven weeks, the coaching board will review the list and test all players, especially those who we have called up for the first time.”

Tuấn said due to the challenges raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, he struggled in selecting his players as they were unable to take part in tournaments because of social distancing.

Tuấn also said the COVID problems also prevented his players from taking part in training courses and friendly matches which are necessary to sharpen skills.

He is planning to set up matches against young male clubs in HCM City.

Tuấn added: “HCM City is still in a complicated situation caused by COVID-19. Therefore, players will train and compete in the bubble concept at the National Sports Training Centre No 2. They will be tested before joining our camp and regularly tested when we are together.

“We will also keep in contact with clubs to find suitable teams to organise matches for players. Through those matches, we will adjust our formations.

“Việt Nam will be hosts of the 31st SEA Games so we want to ensure good results on home soil.”

Việt Nam placed second at the 29th SEA Games held in Malaysia in 2017.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1091407/new-faces-join-womens-futsal-squad-ahead-of-sea-games.html

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Rafa the gaffer needs cash to splash

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YOU’VE BEEN FRAMED: Liverpool fans show their support for Rafa Benitez during a protest outside Anfield 14 years ago. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

On November 28, 2007, Liverpool FC supporters organised a protest march in support of Rafa Benitez, their manager at the time, amid growing concerns and mistrust of the then club’s owners.

The demonstration was ahead of the Champions League match against Porto at Anfield.

One strong memory I have of that protest is an image of a fan carrying a huge picture of Benitez in an elaborate gold frame, akin to what you would see on the streets of Iran in support of their Ayatollah.

I’m guessing that the photo was probably taken from the wall of his living room, where I reckon the image of Rafa dwarfed his wedding photograph.

That particular fan took the framed image from above the mantelpiece and brought it to the game to show his support for the Spaniard. That’s just how much Rafa was loved at Liverpool.

Fans were terrified Benitez would get fed up with the club’s hierarchy and walk away, which ultimately he did.

Rafa had led Liverpool to two Champions League finals, winning one, and had taken Liverpool back to being genuine title contenders.

He had worked wonders with a relatively small budget compared to the likes of Chelsea at the time. Rafa the gaffer was, quite simply, idolised.

Now he plies his trade at Everton, the other club in the city, and in the early hours of Thursday morning, he faced his former employers and the fans who once adored him, for the first time as Everton manager.

Liverpool destroyed Everton by four goals to one, and at the end of the game, as the boos rang out from those Everton supporters who were still left in Goodison Park, Rafa looked a broken man.

After a promising start to the season, Rafa’s honeymoon period is well and truly over. That’s now eight games in a row without a win.

The general consensus among Everton fans is that their anger is directed at Everton’s board and their director of football rather than Benitez himself.

That said, Everton fans would have been seething to hear their rival supporters chanting the name of their former boss as Liverpool cruised to victory.

Everton have some serious, serious problems.

At one point in the game, just after Mohammed Salah had put the visitors two goals up, some home supporters began to leave the ground. There were only 20 minutes gone.

In the last summer transfer window, apart from a few frees, Everton only spent around US$2,000,000 bringing in Demarai Gray. In the previous transfer window, they spent around US$100 million. Go back to the one before that and it was US$150 million.

Almost US$50 million of that was spent on Alex Iwobi, an unused substitute in their derby defeat.

Money clearly not well spent.

But other than the cash for Grey, Benitez hasn’t been given a penny to spend. The Everton board financially backed, and then sacked numerous managers before Rafa.

Now it’s the Spaniard who is paying the price.

If Everton are serious, they must find many more millions and give them to Rafa in January. He has to put his own stamp on the team before he can be judged.

But if they don’t, then I think he too will walk, and there will be no elaborately framed photographs of Rafa adorning the walls of the homes of Everton fans.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1091406/rafa-the-gaffer-needs-cash-to-splash.html

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