Vietnam's U23 captain Nguyen Cong Phuong (left) runs past Japanese Cerezo Osaka's Reiya Morishita during a friendly match in Hanoi. The game ends 2-2. (Source: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam's U23 tied 2-2 with Japanese Cerezo Osaka FC in a friendly match in Hanoi on December 17.

It was considered a positive result for the host team after losing all two testing games against JFL Selection, another club from Japan, some days ago.

Cerezo Osaka's Kakeru Funaki opened the score at the 22nd minute with a straight shot that went to the left corner of Vietnamese goalkeeper Nguyen Hoai Anh, who successfully protected his net in two previous attempts by the visitors.

It seemed that his teammate blocked Anh's view so he could not react quick enough to prevent the goal.
The host needed just three minutes to level the result by national team member Pham Manh Hung.

Captain Nguyen Cong Phuong's free kick found Hung in the box and the midfielder headed strongly to beat goalie Seiya Inoue.

Anh continued his good performance in the second half denying several chances of the Japanese before he was replaced by keeper Phan Van Tien.

Earlier, Vietnamese threatened Cerezo Osaka with attempts by Ho Tuan Tai and Nguyen Thanh Hien, but all failed to put their names on the scoreboard.

Masaki Sakamoto made it 2-1 for the visiting side at the 60th minute with a close-range shot when keeper Tien was not ready.

The defenders let at least three Japanese enter the box. The ball went zigzagging in the area before coming to Sakamoto, who did not waste his opportunity.

Keeper Inoue made a terrible mistake when he made fumbled the ball and goal hunter Nguyen Van Toan easily leveled the result.

The match was their last game ahead of the Asian U23 Football Championship in Qatar next month.

The U23 team will leave for Ho Chi Minh City on December 19 to continue their training under the hot weather which is similar to Doha.

During that time, captain Phuong will sign his contract with Mito Hollyhock, who plays in J.League 2 with Cerezo Osaka next season.-VNA