Vietnamese defender tears up after last-minute loss to Iraq

By Minh Khang   January 24, 2024 | 10:01 pm PT
Defender Bui Hoang Viet Anh was on the verge of tearing up in an interview after Vietnam suffered a 2-3 loss to Iraq in the final round of Asian Cup group stage on Wednesday.
A screenshot Bui Hoang Viet Anh with teary eyes after the Iraq-Vietnam match in Asian Cup on Jan. 24, 2024

A screenshot from an interview shows Bui Hoang Viet Anh with teary eyes after the Iraq-Vietnam match in Asian Cup on Jan. 24, 2024.

"I’m really sorry. My feelings right now are hard to put into words. Once again we had to accept defeat in the last seconds of the match," Viet Anh told the press, his eyes red and tearful.

Viet Anh opened the scoring for Vietnam in this match with a one-touch finish following Khuat Van Khang's free kick in the 42nd minute. However, Khang was later sent off at the end of the first half and Vietnam, with 10 men, faced many difficulties in the second half.

Iraq used this advantage to score two goals in the second half, but Vietnam managed to equalize in the first minute of injury time thanks to Nguyen Quang Hai. However, at the last time, Vo Minh Trong fouled an Iraq player inside the box and the referee pointed at the penalty spot. Aymen Hussein made no mistake to score the winning goal for Iraq.

"The team played well and worked hard, but that red card was the turning point, giving the opponent an advantage," Viet Anh said.

The 25-year-old defender said the loss is a big lesson for him and his teammates, that they have to stay focused until the last second.

"We failed in this tournament, but we hope fans will continue supporting us. The team will play better in the future," Viet Anh said.

Vietnam bid farewell to Asian Cup this year without gaining any points, scoring four goals and conceding eight. This is their worst result at the Asian Cup, after reaching the quarterfinals in the previous two tournaments.

The team are scheduled to start training again in March to prepare for the next matches of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Vietnam will play an away game against Indonesia on March 21 and play them at home five days later.

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