Keith Hancock inside the My Dinh Stadium:
I travelled up from Saigon to watch this game and it was well worth the trip. There were a few City fans knocking around in the bars on the night before. The late confirmation of this game saw the numbers down on every other foreign away friendly that I have been to. Friends that I bumped into complained of having to pay large surcharges to switch their original flights from Australia. Others said they knew of many who just couldn’t arrange the time off work at such short notice. The atmosphere outside the My Dinh Stadium was terrific as the local fans really got into the spirit of things.
When the City team bus eventually arrived the players, I have to say, looked more than a little disinterested in the fans who were cheering and waving. Not a great show for this part of the event, City. Once inside, the almost full ground, the crowds waiting excitedly for the teams to arrive. When they did they were kept standing to attention for a full 15 minutes while someone rambled on and on and on. Vietnamese do like their microphones. But eventually the match did get underway.
Raheem Sterling scored two, including one sensational hit as Manchester side scored four times in each half to beat the local heroes. Alex Korolov opened the scoring with a superbly hit free kick after just ten minutes. He scored a second as well, as did David Silva. The scoring was completed by youngsters Maroc Lopez and Jose Pozo.
At one nil there still seemed much to be had for the local team, but two goals in a minute ended their hopes. First Sterling hit the goal of the night, superbly bending the ball into the right hand side of the goal. I was seated at exactly the right angle to see how much bend he put on the ball, it initially looked like it was going to miss by four or five feet! The goalkeeper had no chance. And just a minute later it was 3 as David Silva slotted home after his headed came back off the bar.
Vietnam’s sole threatening attack of the first half, came when Queyet had a shot saved well by England keeper Joe Hart.
The scoring in the second half began as Sterling was judged to half been fouled in the area and Kolorov claimed his brace of the night, from the spot. As the substitutions came Sterling and Silva made way for Lopes and Pozo. Both soon got themselves on the scoresheet.
With the score at 8 nil I was begging for a Vietnamese goal just to see the crowd reaction. With Joe Hart having been replace by Willy Caballero, there was always a good chance of it happening. In the closing minute of the game the local support got their chance and the ground went wild as Queyet, probably the best of Vietnam’s players on the night, lobbed the ball over the keeper and into the net.
This was my first high-level game in Vietnam, I hope there will be many more. It was a fabulous night played in an impressive stadium. I wouldn’t want to be in the same seat when one of the monsoons comes rolling in though.