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AFF U23 Championship

AFF U23 Championship: Vietnam remain wary before taking on in-form Timor-Leste

3:26 pm AEDT 24/2/22
Vietnam U23
Timor-Leste banking on Mouzinho de Lima magic against Vietnam

Timor-Leste face a stern challenge in the AFF U23 Championship semi-finals as they are set to clash against Vietnam on Thursday at the Morodok Techo National Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Although the Golden Star Warriors might miss a few key players due to Covid-19 concerns, Vietnam boast of a formidable squad that can give Timor-Leste a run for their money.

Nguyen Van Tung was in incredible form in the group stages and has two goals to his name. He is not only a scorer but can also create chances for his teammates to capitalise on. In fact, he has a passing accuracy of 64.29% in the final third which highlights his influence on the pitch.

His partnership with Quang Nho flourished against Singapore and if the midfielder gets fit for the semifinal clash, Timor Leste's defence would have another threat to tackle.

VIETNAM U23 RECENT RESULTS

Date

Match

Competition

February 19, 2022

Singapore 0-7 Vietnam

AFF U23 Championship

February 22, 2022

Vietnam 1-0 Thailand

AFF U23 Championship

One might expect Timor-Leste to sit back and absorb pressure against an attack-heavy Vietnam. They would like to block everything through the middle, forcing Vietnam to use the wide areas. Hence Trung Thanh and Tran Bao Tran will be key to feed the likes of Van Tung and Quoc Viet upfront.

Meanwhile, Timor-Leste will hope that Jaimito Soares continues to shine for them. The defender is being used as a holding midfielder in this competition and he has shone in his new role. Despite playing from a deeper position he scored against Philippines dribbling past three defenders which testify that he has decent finishing abilities as well which could come in handy against Vietnam.

Timor-Leste U23 RECENT RESULTS

Date

Match

Competition

February 14, 2022

Timor-Leste 2-2 Philippines

AFF U23 Championship

February 17, 2022

Brunei 1-3 Timor-Leste

AFF U23 Championship

February 20, 2022

Cambodia 0-1 Timor-Leste

AFF U23 Championship

However, the key man for Timor-Leste in attack will be Mouzinho de Lima, who was absolutely unstoppable against Cambodia. He likes to take on defenders and his knack of shooting from distance often troubles the shot-stoppers.

Vietnam centre-backs Dinh Quy and Tran Quang Tinh would have to remain on their toes to quickly close down the forward and not provide him with any shooting space.

Vietnam's best finish in the tournament came in 2019 when they bagged the bronze medal. This time they are motivated to change the colour of the metal for the better and more so given their rich vein of form.

However, Timor-Leste have also played some scintillating football in the group stages and hope to cause an upset.

Now, it remains to be seen which team has the last laugh on Thursday evening.