Park Hang-seo thanks players for a great match

Friday, 2018-12-07 12:37:30
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Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo (in white) at the press briefing after the AFF Cup semifinal second leg in Hanoi. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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NDO – Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo extends his thanks to the players for their significant efforts and brilliant game against the Philippines during a press briefing held shortly after the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal second leg concluded at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on December 6, with the “Golden Stars” winning 4-2 on aggregate to advance into the final.

* Vietnam secure ticket to AFF Cup finals

Speaking to the media on Thursday, the Republic of Korea tactician paid tribute to all the Vietnamese fans and his players: “This is the first time in ten years that Vietnam have booked a place in the AFF Cup title match. I would like to thank Vietnamese fans, as well as my players who showed their great efforts and played a brilliant game tonight”.

The “Golden Stars” attacked throughout the match but only found the back of the net in the last ten minutes with two goals from midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai and substitute Nguyen Cong Phuong. “Today, I was happy to see Van Duc handle the ball and assisted Quang Hai to open the scoring. But I was most impressed by the way Cong Phuong doubled our advantage,” Park said.

The 59-year-old coach revealed that he had believed in the possibility of Vietnam breaking the deadlock in the second half after the two teams drew 0-0 in the first 45 minutes. “After the first leg at the Philippines, I realised that they played in a confusing fashion in the second part. I had told my players that if they maintained concentration and defended their sheet, goals would come in the second half. And today, the entire team did it”.

Park affirmed that he did not want to compare himself with Philippines coach Sven-Göran Eriksson, who, he said, still remains as one of the world-level tacticians. “Please don’t compare me with coach Eriksson. He is really a world-level manager. Emotionally, it is a great honour for me to confront with him. Although I have beaten him twice, Eriksson is still at a higher level than me”.

Talking about the upcoming title match against Malaysia, Park stated that “Malaysia possess good attacking players. Vietnam will have to organise well and maintain the current playing style. If we could do that, we will achieve the expected results”.

Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai produce a bicycle kick during the semifinal second leg at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Dec 6.

Addressing the press briefing, Philippines coach Eriksson extended his congratulations to the Vietnamese side, hailing Park’s troops as a strong team full of youthful power.

“I would like to congratulate Vietnam for securing a ticket to the final match. I am sure that the upcoming clash between Malaysia and Vietnam will be very thrilling,” the Swedish tactician said.

Explaining the reason for his tactical adjustments and use of many long and high balls during the match, he stated that “I was forced to make tactical and lineup adjustments because we needed goals. I had no other choice as everything was different from the first leg. My players also complied with tactics, but we could not adjust everything as expected”.

After missing out on the AFF Cup final place, Eriksson said he and his players will focus on preparing for the 2019 Asian Cup, scheduled to take place early next year. “We failed at My Dinh and now we have to make preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup. I am not angry with the players, as they tried their best. I had few players to prepare the best for the two semifinal clashes”.

Evaluating the strength between Vietnam and Malaysia ahead of the 2018 AFF Cup title match, the Philippines coach stated: “Vietnam possess their strongest lineup today and are the odds-on favourites for the overall championship trophy. I had expected to beat a strong team like Vietnam in this year’s tournament, unfortunately that did not come true”.