SEA Games: 'Vietnam spirit' came through, says coach Park

By Lam Thoa, Duc Dong   December 1, 2019 | 07:34 am PT
SEA Games: 'Vietnam spirit' came through, says coach Park
Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc takes the decisive long-range shot that secured Vietnam the 2-1 victory over Indonesia in the 30th SEA Games in Manila, the Philippines, December 1, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
Vietnam’s coach Park Hang-seo says the national fighting spirit drove his team to the 2-1 victory over Indonesia Sunday.

"Today, we showed the Vietnam spirit. We conceded one goal in the first half, but we did not give up. The team fought and won. That’s the Vietnam spirit, we never surrender."

A mistake by goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung in the 23rd minute put Indonesia ahead against Vietnam in the ongoing men’s football competition at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines.

Indonesia then played defensive football, making Vietnamese players struggle to create opportunities in the rest of the first half and the first 15 minutes of the second half.

But Park did not blame Dung for the ball slipping from his hands. "Whatever happens on the field, the head coach has the ultimate responsibility. Therefore I don’t want to talk about an individual’s mistake."

A header in the 64th minute by defender Nguyen Thanh Chung, jersey number 18, balanced the score and boosted the confidence of the Vietnamese players, following which they attempted a variety of attacking moves.

Eventually, a long-range shot from midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc, jersey number 14, in the 91st minute brought the team its third straight victory in the tournament.

The last time Vietnam played Indonesia was at the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers in Hanoi last March, which also proved tough for Vietnam, who had to wait till the very last minute to get the winning goal.

Indonesia’s coach Indra Sjafri accepted the defeat and said they hope to play Vietnam again.

"Vietnam now has big advantages in the race to the semifinal. Indonesia will have to try hard in the last two matches. I hope we will meet Vietnam again in the final of the 30th SEA Games."

Vietnam, having beaten Brunei 6-0 and Laos 6-1, remains top of group B after Sunday’s match. The team will play Singapore on Tuesday and Thailand on Thursday.

At this year’s SEA Games, Vietnamese men aim to win their first football gold ever.

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