Vietnam denied legitimate goal against Myanmar: international experts

By Hoang Khanh Phong   November 21, 2018 | 01:06 am PT
Vietnam denied legitimate goal against Myanmar: international experts
Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Toan got the ball into the net in the 77th minute, but it was ruled offside. Video replays showed the ruling was wrong and cost Vietnam a valuable win. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
An incorrect offside ruling might end up costing Vietnam dear at the ongoing AFF Cup football tournament, experts concur.

In an away match Tuesday, Vietnam and Myanmar played a goalless draw, leaving millions of fans disappointed and angry over a goal being ruled offside.

The match, played at the Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, was an intense affair. In the 77th minute, Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Toan found the net, but a 37-year-old Thai linesman ruled it offside.

Several Asian sports sites have criticized Phubes Lekpha’s decision which greatly affected the final result and could end up being of crucial importance.

Vietnamese commentators unanimously criticized the decision after watching action replays of the goal.

Hong Kong-based Fox Sports Asia said the referee’s assistant made a "dubious decision."

"Replays showed that the forward was indeed onside when the first ball was played, leaving the players and the fans bewildered," a Fox Sports report said, adding that it was a clear mistake that cost Vietnam a chance to take the lead.

Thai sports newspaper InterFootball also expressed disappointment that the assistant referee failed to recognize a decisive goal.

South Korean newspaper Chosun praised the efforts of coach Park Hang-seo and the Vietnamese football team on Tuesday, and retreated Toan’s loss in the last minutes of the match.

Football fans in Southeast Asia waded into the controversy, with some even speculating that the assistant referee had been bought. Others criticized the decision saying the Vietnamese player was clearly onside.

Vietnam now stands second in group A with seven points from three games, conceding no goals. Myanmar also has seven points but is ahead on goal stats, and will play its final group match against third-placed Malaysia.

The top two teams from the tournament's two groups will advance to next month's semi-finals. If Myanmar beats Malaysia in their next match on November 24, both Vietnam and Myanmar will progress to the semifinals.

The same day, Vietnam will play their last group stage match against Cambodia on home soil, in Hanoi.

"We must win this last match," Park said, adding that he will analyze the Myanmar match to understand why Vietnam missed so many shots, and try and make sure it will not happen again.

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