Goalkeeper Liem Dieu didn’t know how to kick a striker

25 Feb 2022 | 15:29

Tran Liem Dieu said that entering the field in the 2022 Southeast Asian U23 semi-final on February 24 is a unique memory in a player’s life.

In the 99th minute match with U23 Timor Leste, Tran Liem Dieu made his U23 Vietnam debut for the first time in an official match, but not his forte goalkeeper position. He entered the field from the bench, was the last player to play, played the highest in the U23 Vietnam attack.

The debut of the team in special circumstances helped Liem Dieu be known to many fans. Except for Liem Dieu and the reinforcements, no Vietnamese football player entered the match with less than a day of preparation in the past.
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 Liem Dieu launched U23 Vietnam in special circumstances. Photo: Nguyen Khang.

Around 9 am on February 23, Liem Dieu received a phone call from an official of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) about an urgent summoning to go to Cambodia to play. He couldn’t believe his ears, stood for a while to calm down, and then hurriedly packed his luggage.

“I was very surprised when I was called urgently because I was with Nam Dinh Club preparing for the opening match of V.League 2022. I hurriedly called to ask for permission from the coaching staff and was encouraged and facilitated by Uncle Van Sy. Then I quickly went looking for shoes and gloves, without these two things is not good” , Tran Liem Dieu shared with Zing.

After packing up and saying goodbye to his newlywed wife, Liem Dieu got in the car and went straight to Noi Bai airport. Coming here, he had to wait for nearly 2 hours because the flight to Ho Chi Minh City was delayed. In the evening of the same day, New Article reunited with 3 other teammates. U23 Vietnam’s reinforcement group had almost no rest when it was midnight to be tested for Covid-19.

“When we got negative results, we were very happy. Then the group set off for Cambodia from about 5am (February 24). Walking is also tiring but I am also happy and very nervous. I have never experienced this feeling in my life as a player,” the goalkeeper born in 2001 said.

If U23 Vietnam did not fall into a crisis of forces due to Covid-19, it is unlikely that Liem Dieu would have had the opportunity to launch the Southeast Asian playground. Before this trip, Liem Dieu also had a thrilling journey in the Vietnam U23 team.

Liem Dieu has been summoned by Coach Park Hang-seo since 2020, has participated in many gatherings and even played a friendly match with the seniors of the national team. Along with Trinh Xuan Hoang (Thanh Hoa Club), Tran Liem Dieu had the longest training period with goalkeeping coach Kim Hyun-tae before this coach ended his contract.

During the decisive gathering in January, Liem Dieu asked Vietnam U23 staff to go home to get married, taking a break for nearly a week. An unfortunate event happened with Khai when he contracted Covid-19 when he returned to the team, so he had to be isolated and missed training sessions. U23 Vietnam practiced throughout Tet in Hanoi, only Liem Dieu was isolated, could not eat Tet nor practice.

When coach Dinh The Nam closed the list of U23 Vietnam in Binh Duong for training to get used to the hot weather, he crossed out Liem Dieu’s name.

“I also think a lot and feel sorry for Liem Dieu. I met him personally and encouraged him. Not being able to exercise regularly makes things not in the best shape. I also want to bring Article with me, but the Southeast Asian tournament rules only allow up to 3 goalkeepers to register ,” coach Dinh The Nam answered Zing’s question after the victory over Timor Leste.
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 Liem Dieu and his teammates stand in front of the opportunity to win the first regional championship for U23 Vietnam. Photo: Nguyen Khang.

When Liem Dieu returned to the team, he also did not anticipate his debut. Coach Dinh The Nam registered Dang Tuan Hung to start, for Article to sit on the bench. Tuan Hung is just a newbie, has not played professionally, nor has he been called up to the national team before, and Article has had a whole process with Coach The Nam.

However, that does not make Thing sad. For him, playing for the national team was a blessing, even if that happiness came a bit different from the player’s own imagination.

“I didn’t know I would be on the pitch to play as a striker. I didn’t even know the teachers had prepared white competition clothes. I sit on the bench while still wearing the goalkeeper uniform. When my teammates got injured and had too many cramps, the teachers took out my clothes and told me to change and warm up. I change in the middle of the pitch, but I don’t have time to go to the changing room. I didn’t even notice my name was misprinted, but it doesn’t matter ,” Liem said.

For the first time in his career, a grown-up goalkeeper from Nam Định played in an official match as a striker. This is also a rare time when Vietnamese football is reluctant to use such a reserve goalkeeper because there is no one left to replace.

Liem Dieu’s 21 minutes in the field of U23 Vietnam may not be complete for a goalkeeper, but it is more than enough to be considered an unforgettable mark in his career when U23 Vietnam reached the final of the U23 East Championship. South Asia.