Facing the lesser-known opponents, the Vietnamese squad demonstrated their aggressive approach right from the start, aiming for an early goal.

However, the coordination among the Vietnamese players in the attack lacked the cutting edge and ingenuity needed to break through the resolute defense of Hong Kong.

On the other hand, the Vietnamese defenders frequently left vulnerable gaps in front of goalkeeper Dang Van Lam’s penalty area.

This gave the Hong Kong strikers numerous opportunities, leading to moments of alarm for the spectators at Hai Phong’s Lach Tray Stadium.

One such instance occurred in the 21st minute when a lapse in concentration by Do Duy Manh provided an opening for striker Matthew Kai Orr to break free and confront goalkeeper Van Lam.

Had it not been for Van Lam’s excellent reflexes, Vietnam would have conceded several times.

Seven minutes later, Orr capitalized on the Vietnamese defense’s lack of focus again and unleashed a narrow attempt that rattled off the crossbar.

Hong Kong defender Helio Goncalves brings down Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai in the penalty area during their friendly match at Lach Tray Stadium in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam, June 15, 2023. Photo: D.K. / Tuoi Tre

Hong Kong defender Helio Goncalves brings down Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai in the penalty area during their friendly match at Lach Tray Stadium in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam, June 15, 2023. Photo: D.K. / Tuoi Tre

At the 32nd minute mark, a sudden turn of events unfolded as the Vietnamese team were granted a penalty after Nguyen Quang Hai was forcefully brought down by defender Helio Goncalves inside the penalty area.

Que Ngoc Hai then confidently outwitted goalkeeper Tse Ka Wing, securing the opening goal and granting Vietnam a 1-0 lead.

Following the setback, Hong Kong intensified their efforts to mount an offensive and level the score.

In the 38th minute, a direct free kick from the left saw Wong Wai produce a challenging shot that narrowly sailed over Van Lam’s goal, marking the second time the ball had evaded the Vietnamese goalkeeper’s reach.

In the 49th minute, Wong Wai attempted a cross from the left wing, but the delivery went awry and fortuitously struck the crossbar of goalkeeper Van Lam for the third time in the match.

The referee books Hong Kong defender Helio Goncalves for bringing down Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai in the penalty area during their friendly match at Lach Tray Stadium in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam, June 15, 2023. Photo: D.K. / Tuoi Tre

The referee books Hong Kong defender Helio Goncalves for bringing down Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai in the penalty area during their friendly match at Lach Tray Stadium in Hai Phong City, northern Vietnam, June 15, 2023. Photo: D.K. / Tuoi Tre

In the subsequent minutes, head coach Philippe Troussier implemented several substitutions to bolster Vietnam’s offensive performance and generate more threatening opportunities.

For instance, in the 78th minute, Khuat Van Khang entered the field and orchestrated a perilous through pass for Pham Tuan Hai to make a swift advance.

Hong Kong goalkeeper Ka Wing reacted swiftly and managed to make a crucial save.

In the 85th minute, Pham Xuan Manh exhibited excellent ball control as he delivered a splendid long-range shot from outside the penalty area, only to be thwarted by Ka Wing’s remarkable reflexes.

The score remained 1-0 until the final whistle, securing the Vietnamese team’s victory in their first international match under coach Troussier, although their overall performance was not convincing to many home fans.