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Van Toan came back strong to prove that Coach Jeonbuk was right

The goal against Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors is a worthy reward for Van Toan’s persistent efforts in AFC Champions League this season.

“HAGL has two dangerous players, No. 9 (Van Toan) and No. 10 (Cong Phuong). I always pay attention to them. To me, Van Toan is capable of playing football in the K-League”, coach Kim Sang- sik shared before the first leg match between HAGL and Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors in the third round of the AFC Champions League.

Van Toan came back strong to prove that Coach Jeonbuk was right - photo 1
Van Toan had his first goal in the 2022 AFC Champions League.


However, it is no coincidence that both coach Kim Sang-sik and coach Kiatisak Senamuang highly appreciate Van Toan, despite the modest number of goals. The eyes of the experts are always sharp and the 90 minutes of shining in front of Jeonbuk prove that Van Toan deserves that respect, from both teammates and opponents.

At that time, Van Toan had spent more than 600 minutes without scoring for the club. In the Vietnamese team, the “dead” period of the striker born in 1996 is 5 years. Van Toan himself admitted that he only considered the praise of coach Kim Sang-sik as encouragement.

The striker wearing the number 9 shirt burned with all his might against Jeonbuk. Just like the first leg, HAGL played with a low back line. Although the scheme has been changed from 3-4-3 to 3-5-2, Van Toan’s role has not changed, which is to take advantage of the space behind Jeonbuk’s defense to open counter-attacks.

Because HAGL mainly defends and Van Toan sometimes has to retreat to the middle of the field to accompany people, the distance to move to the opponent’s goal of Hai Duong origin is very large.

Van Toan came back strong to prove that Coach Jeonbuk was right - photo 2

Van Toan and his teammates caught up with the AFC Champions League.


However, Van Toan still played impressively. In the first half, Van Toan alone created 3 dangerous opportunities for his teammates thanks to situations when he escaped behind the opponent’s defender, neatly controlled and then returned to the second line, including a horizontal stretch that was blocked by Cong. Phuong missed. In the match against Jeonbuk last night, April 25, Van Toan’s task was even heavier. Coach Kiatisak replaced a striker (Jefferson Baiano) with a midfielder (Minh Vuong). The number of attacking troops decreased, leading to Van Toan running more. HAGL’s No. 9 must cover a large attacking field, independently fighting against top-class defenders on the continent.

Van Toan not only accelerates quickly, dribbling the ball, but also exploits the space well. When Jeonbuk’s defense was skewed by the situation of Huu Tuan rising, Van Toan moved cleverly and suddenly accelerated to eliminate 2 defenders. Korea before finishing the goal.

Van Toan came back strong to prove that Coach Jeonbuk was right - photo 3

Coach Kiatisak is changing Van Toan.

Van Toan is changing under the training hand of Kiatisak. If the previous generations of HAGL coaches mainly used Van Toan as a running foot to create mutations on the edge, Kiatisak pulled Van Toan to kick close to the middle, approach the penalty area more and work harder to finish. Before, Van Toan also ran wisely to catch the drop of his teammates, but unfortunately lacked a bit of strength to touch the ball.

Van Toan was pulled in to play as a real striker, but sometimes he stepped back to the stone like a defender, then waited for space to shoot far. The original Hai Duong player no longer only runs and shoots, but has improved his playing mindset.

During his time as a player, coach Kiatisak used to roam the area thanks to his smart play to compensate for his limited physique. The Thai strategist is using accumulated experience to gradually raise the level of his students. Van Toan needs to use the right energy at the right time, and at the same time collide with strong opponents like Jeonbuk to improve.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve scored, so this goal helps me relieve a lot of pressure. Sometimes I don’t have confidence in myself, I told the coach I didn’t know how to get it back. After the words of encouragement from the teacher, I became more confident. The goal gave me more confidence, in the future, I will try to play better to help the club get good results, “said Van Toan.

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