AFC U23 Championship

Head coach Park confident in bright future awaits Vietnam

Sunday, 2018-01-28 09:21:49
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Head coach Park Hang-seo has predicted a positive outlook for Vietnamese football on the international stage. (Photo: AFC)
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NDO – Vietnam U23’s head coach Park Hang-seo predicts a bright future for Vietnamese football despite seeing his side slip to a narrow defeat to Uzbekistan in the final of the AFC U23 Championship 2018 on January 27.

Quang Hai’s superb free-kick on the stroke of half-time helped Vietnam level the early conceded goal in the 8th minute. However, substitute Andrey Sidorov’s goal with just a minute remaining of extra-time handed Uzbekistan a 2-1 win to end the Vietnamese remarkable run to the final.

Coach Park put aside the disappointment of the heartbreaking loss to provide a positive outlook for the country’s football on the international stage.

“I’ve only been in Vietnam for four months and I still don’t know enough about Vietnam’s football culture,” said the Korean strategist after the match. “All of my players did their best and throughout this tournament they proved that they have great talent. Maybe in the future Vietnamese football will have more success at Asian level.”

“We lost the game today but our players have proven they are a united team. Today we had to play in the snow. Our players had never played in this situation before, but they tried to do their best and I want to say thank you to them.”

Park was particularly appreciative of the support shown to his team by the Vietnamese fans, several thousands of whom turned up to back the team in Changzhou while thousands more watched the team’s performance on giant screens across the country.

“We have been able to make the fans happy before but we haven’t been able to do that today. I want to say sorry for this to the Vietnamese people, but the players tried their best. They felt the love of the Vietnamese people throughout this tournament.”

Captain Luong Xuan (No. 6) Truong has praised his team for a well fought campaign and paid tribute to their supporters in the stands. (Photo: AFC)

Captain Luong Xuan Truong has praised his team for a well fought campaign and is proud of their achievements despite losing to Uzbekistan in the final. “To have reached this far into the tournament, we have proved that we are one of the best teams in Asia, and we can compete against the top teams in Asia.”

The Hoang Anh Gia Lai FC midfielder was also grateful for the undying support of the thousands of Vietnamese supporters, who have travelled up north despite the chilly conditions to cheer their team at Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre.

“I feel amazed. We were really happy to see them in the stadium. They have always tried to support us and brought along a significant energy. I hope they didn’t catch a cold. Once again, I want to say ‘thank you’.”

Thousands of Vietnamese supporters travelled up north despite the freezing conditions to cheer their team at Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre. (Photo by Huu Hung/NDO)

Meanwhile, Uzbekistan’s head coach Ravshan Khaydarov paid tribute to his team’s opponents and he believes Vietnam will make major strides on the international scene with their current crop of players.

“Vietnam are a very beautiful team with compact defending and they played beautiful football throughout this tournament,” he said. “I really respect the Vietnam team and I think they have a very good future. This is a good generation and they can do more than they have at this tournament.”