The Golden Dragons headed into their 2019 Asian Cup Group D opener on Tuesday night as the underdogs, but created a big surprise by taking the lead twice thanks to Ali Faez’s own goal (24’) and Cong Phuong’s strike (42’).
However, the deadly mistakes by Duy Manh and Bui Tien Dung allowed the West Asian representatives to equalise the score 2-2 with goals from Mohanad Ali (35’) and Humam Tareq (60’), before Ali Adnan sealed a come-from-behind win for Srecko Katanec’s troops with a beautiful free-kick converter in the last official minute of play.
The regrettable defeat means that Vietnam will have to exert optimal efforts in the remaining group clashes to foster the hopes of advancing into the knock-out round.
Addressing the post-match press conference, Park Hang-seo praised the performances of his players during the 90 minutes on the field. “Although we lost today, our players played very well and delivered their best performances. They were in the highest level technically and physically”.
Park did not hide his regrets during the press conference after Vietnam dropped points in a match they deserved at least a draw.
He admitted that Vietnam’s defensive line made mistakes leading to their third conceded goal on the stroke of stoppage time. “At the end of the match, we allowed them to have a free kick and then we conceded a goal in that situation. In that moment our players were exhausted and less concentrated. I also see that our goalkeeper was not in a good position at that time of the match. We need to do more practice to improve in this regard”.
The Republic of Korea coach spoke highly of midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai’s display against Iraqi players who have better physique. “Despite failing to get on the scoresheet, Quang Hai left profound imprints in the entire team’s playing style today. I hope he will score goals in the following games”.
Concluding his speech, Park also said Iraq deserved the three points after all. “Iraq performed very well. They lost the ball and conceded twice, but struggled to win three points in the last minute. They deserved the win today”.
For his part, coach Srecko Katanec admitted his side made some mistakes during the match, and still have many things to improve. However, he affirmed that Iraq’s win was not due to luck. “I do not think we were lucky to win in the second half. Vietnam did not have many chances to score, so Iraq deserved the victory”.
Iraq coach Srecko Katanec speaks at the post-match press conference.
The 55-year-old coach also gave praise to the Vietnamese side’s performance, stating that the Golden Dragons actively moved and ran throughout the match.