AS Roma defeated Vietnam 2-1 in the first round match of an International U19 Football Tournament at Ho Chi Minh City's Thong Nhat Stadium on January 6.

Valerio Trani scored a double for the visiting side while Le Van Son found the only goal for the hosts.

The Vietnamese boys started the game in high spirits after recent successes, egged on by fans who had turned up in droves.

They quickly set the pace of the match with consecutive attacks since the whistle.

Nguyen Cong Phuong and Hong Thanh Truong needed just eight minutes to produce the first threat of a goal against the Italians, but Roma custodian Lorenzo Zonfrilli had the better of the ensuing exchange.

Phuong proved to be the sharpest player for the hosts, repeatedly testing Zonfrilli continuously. He had the spectators stand up with a 13th minute strike, but his shot found the left pole and bounced back.

Just a minute later, Zonfrilli was defeated for the second time, but Phuong's tap in was stopped just in time by a defender.

However, the Vietnamese threats did not faze the AS Roma players. They found the opening goal from a rapid counter-attack.

Daniele Verde, receiving the ball from Jacopo Ferri's pass in the box, heeled it back to Trani, who ran in from the outside to slot the ball into a goal.

The hosts were able to level proceedings with a penalty in the 34th minute that striker Son duly converted.

The equaliser motivated the hosts to dominate the proceedings and create a series of opportunities, but they were unable to find the net. Trani scored the winning goal for the visitors with a rapid run that left the Vietnamese defenders napping.

Coach Guillaume Graechen's effected two changes in the line-up, but they did not work. His side came close to conceding a third goal in the 85th minute, when the referee from the Republic of Korea gave a penalty to the hosts. Truong successfully stopped a straight shot by Adamo Matteo.

In the last minute, Phuong missed another scoring chance with a shot that went straight into to Zonfrilli's hands.

Their victory helped AS Roma share top position with English Premier League's Tottenham Hotspurs, who had earlier come from behind to beat Japan 2-1 in the opening match.

In the next round on January 7, Vietnam plays Japan while AS Roma faces Tottenham Hotspur.

The winner of the tournament, which will be decided after the third round on January 10, will win a bonus of 100,000 USD, a prize-money record for the tournament organised by the Vietnam Football Federation.-VNA