TOUGH TIMES: Centre back Nguyễn Thanh Bình (5) struggles after coming on as a substitute. — AFP/VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam national team manager Park Hang-seo admitted that his decision to introduce a young central defender into the World Cup qualifier against China was what caused the defeat.
Việt Nam lost 3-2 after their stirring comeback was foiled by goal deep into injury time on yesterday night in Dubai, the UAE.
In the 71st minute, with China leading 1-0, coach Park decided to change personnel.
Nguyễn Thanh Bình, a centre back who had played 15 minutes against Australia, was brought on to replace Bùi Tiến Dũng.
Bình struggled to pick up China's Wu Lei, and the La Liga player scored two goals after the substitution.
After the match, coach Park defended his players, saying that it was his mistake that had led to the defeat.
“My players did a great job, they didn’t give up despite being two goals behind,” Park said.
"We were so close, maybe it’s because I made the decision of changing the defence too quickly. I think it was my fault.”
Despite being two goals down, the Vietnamese side refused to lie down and substitute Hồ Tấn Tài pulled a goal back in the 80th minute.
Tài was played in thanks to a long pass from midfielder Nguyễn Hoàng Đức which beat the entire China defence. Tài controlled it with his right foot and fired it home with the left.
In the final minute of normal time, Linh got his reward for a night of hard graft by converting a smart pass from midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải to level the score.
With five minutes added on, it seemed either team could have taken all three points, but it was to be the nominal home side that triumphed after Wu found room in the box after more brilliant movement in the 95th minute and glanced home a deep cross, condemning Việt Nam to defeat.
"The player's mistake is the responsibility of the coach," said the 64-year-old manager.
"Players need mistakes to grow up. I would say again that a player's mistake is my fault."
It’s not everyone’s fault
Despite what Park said, football expert Hà Quang Minh said that the loss is based on tactics and praised coach Park’s decision of replacing Vũ Văn Thanh with Hồ Tấn Tài.
“China was expected to be better than Việt Nam, but they entered the game without overwhelming impressions,” Minh wrote on his personal social media page.
“Individually, they are slightly better than us in terms of physicality and skill, but the gameplay is not better.
“The adjustments of coach Park even brought hope back to Việt Nam with the presence of Hồ Tấn Tài on the right wing creating a new fighting spirit which helped him shorten the score and put pressure back on China.
“That pressure really took shape with the return of Nguyễn Công Phượng, who quickly linked with Nguyễn Quang Hải to help Nguyễn Tiến Linh level the score in the last minutes.
“However, with that gameplay, we also faced many risks. This time, luck was not on our side.”
According to Minh, despite the defeat, the players did a great job and this will be a valuable lesson for them in the future.
“It's a real pity but that’s football and we have to accept it, and it's acceptable when the players have shown a true spirit of steel against a stronger opponent,” Minh wrote.
“The most important thing is, after this defeat, is what can they learn to be better in the future.”
The loss means coach Park hang-seo's men are still without a point in the third round of 2022 World Cup qualifying after three matches.
Việt Nam will next play Oman on October 12 while China will take on Saudi Arabia a day later. — VNS