Conceding early goal caused difficulties for Vietnam: football head coach

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“We lost, but I know that my players have done their best,” Vietnamese men’s football coach Park Hang-seo said at the post-match press conference following the team’s defeat against South Korea at Asiad men’s football semifinal match on Wednesday.

“Going up against an outclassing South Korean team made my players slightly lose confidence at the start, and the early goal we conceded only made everything more difficult. But it’s ok, losing against a strong team is a good experience for the players.”

Despite both teams having the same one-day break after the quarterfinal match, the Vietnamese players had an inferior start compared to the South Korean team, which had all three of its over 23-year-old players that played at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the starting lineup. Vietnam quickly conceded the first goal at the 7th minute, before South Korea doubled their lead at minute 28.

After the half-time break, despite Vietnam showing a better performance, South Korea continued to extend the lead to 3-0 with a goal at minute 58.

“When I entered the dressing room during the break, I saw that the players were too nervous so I had to talk to them to help them regain confidence. I also made some tactical changes such as changing the formation from three to four defenders,” Park said.

“However, the most important point is that the players were no longer doubting themselves or nervous, and they played better,” he added.

The match’s remaining time was only enough for the Vietnamese team to score one goal from a free kick at minute 70.

Tran Minh Vuong reacts after scoring one goal for Vietnam from a free kick. Photo by Duc Dong

Tran Minh Vuong, who struck the successful shot, said that “Our team had played our best for very touch match.”

“South Korea team was so strong,” Vuong said, adding that his teammates have been playing many matches recently, so some of them were not in their perfect physical shape for the semifinal.

At the post-match conference, Park refused to comment on the South Korean team and only congratulated his home country’s team on the victory and the opportunity to play for the gold medal at the final.

“I’m currently the head coach of Vietnam so I can’t talk about South Korea. I’m not in a position to talk about them. I just want to congratulate coach Kim Hak-bum and the South Korean team,” he said.

The South Korean team’s coach Kim Hak-bum meanwhile said the semifinal match against Vietnam was not as difficult as he had expected.

“I’m very sorry for coach Park Hang-seo, my fellow countryman. This match Vietnam made some mistakes, but overall they played pretty well,” Kim added.

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