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Vietnam draws with DPR Korea

In a result that will give them confidence ahead of the AFF Suzuki Cup, Vietnam drew 0-0 with a strong DPR Korea team in the Millennium Cup in Hanoi.

After a 3-0 win over Kuwait's under-23 team and a 2-0 loss to the Australian Olympic side, Vietnam went in search of a victory in their final game of the round-robin tournament.

DPR Korea, fielding six players who played in the World Cup in South Africa, needed a draw to lift the trophy and was defense-minded throughout the 90 minutes. Although his team failed to score, Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto will have been pleased with their efforts.

On the few occasions that DPR Korea came out of their defensive shell, they found Vietnam keeper Duong Hong Son – named Player of the Tournament at the last AFF Suzuki Cup – in fine shot-stopping form. Up front, Calisto replaced Nguyen Trong Hoang, Nguyen Minh Phuong and Le Tan Tai with Nguyen Thanh Luong, Phan Van Tai Em and Le Quang Hai in a final push for three points but to no avail.

The match started with the Koreans playing low but became open after about 15 minutes. Notably, just minutes before the break, a finish by Pak Kwang Ryong would have become a goal if Vietnam defender Huynh Quang Thanh had not cleared on the goal line. Three minutes after the break, Vietnam midfielder Nguyen Vu Phong's shot outside the penalty box beat North Korea goalkeeper Ri Myong Guk but the ball hit the left goalpost. With six points, a draw with Vietnam was enough for the Koreans to take the trophy.

The champions received a cash prize of US$20,000, runners-up Vietnam US$10,000, and the third team US$5,000.

The tournament was seen as a warm-up for the Vietnamese team to prepare for the Southeast Asian Championship - AFF Suzuki Cup 2010, co-hosted by Indonesia and Vietnam from December 1 to 29, where they are in Group B with Singapore, Myanmar and the runner-up team in the qualifying round.