King’s Cup: Vietnam still Southeast Asia champion, says coach Park

By Dong Huyen   June 5, 2019 | 03:21 pm PT
King’s Cup: Vietnam still Southeast Asia champion, says coach Park
Park Hang-seo reacts after his team won the intense match against Thailand in King's Cup, June 5 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Coach Park Hang-seo was happy that Vietnam won Thailand national team on their home ground Wednesday.

"Thailand is a strong team, and when in preparation for the game, Vietnam players were very stressed out. But they played with high determination and scored in the very last minute," Park said in the post-match conference.

Thailand were usually considered the strongest team in Southeast Asia, and Vietnam's unbeatable opponent. In 21 games of national team level, they won 15, drew four, lost two and scored 44 goals against Vietnam. But under coach Park, things have changed. Vietnam have earned victories over Thailand's U23 team, and now at King’s Cup 2019, they have defeated Thailand's national team for the first time in 11 years.

"I want to say thanks to the team for the effort. Not because this game is more special than other matches, but because no matter who the opponent are, we will always give our best and try to get a victory," Park said.

The Wednesday night victory reaffirmed Vietnam's championship status in Southeast Asia among fans. They won AFF Cup last December, but did not clash Thailand then.

"Vietnam is still the champion in the region," Park said, adding that to keep the title, the players will have to keep moving forward.

"Thailand football is still very strong. I believe that two teams will continue to compete and grow together," Park said.

Despite King’s Cup being a friendly tournament, two teams showed their desire to win by playing with the intension of a final. Thailand committed some serious fouls and five yellow cards were withdrawn for both sides.

Just when people thought that the game had to be decided by penalties, Nguyen Anh Duc scored the precious goal in the very last minute of extra times to secure the victory for Vietnam.

On the Thailand side, coach Sirisak Yodyardthai said his team were unlucky.

"I’m really disappointed that we lost the game in this way. Thailand created many chances to score, but then conceded in the last minute. It’s hard to explain, but that’s football. I told my players to stand up after this loss and prepare for the third-place playoff with India," Yodyardthai said.

Thailand had one shot that hit the post and another into the net but it was ruled invalid due to a foul.

In the final on June 8, Vietnam will face Curacao, who beat India 3-1 on Wednesday. Coach Park has not yet decided which players to use in the final because he wants to test the ability of some new faces that he called up but didn’t use in the Thailand game. At the same time, the coach also wants to win the cup.

"If we can get two things done in a single game that would be my ultimate goal. I will have to discuss more with the assistants."

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