|San Thaw Thaw of Myanmar celebrates her goal in the third-place playoff against Việt Nam. Myanmar won 4-3 after a late flurry of goals. Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will go home empty-handed after losing 4-3 to Myanmar in the third-place playoff of the AFF Women's Cup today in Manila, the Philippines.
Coach Mai Đức Chung and his side suffered a shock loss to the Philippines in the semi-finals two days ago. Although he promised to lift his players up and do all to take home bronze they could not carry out the mission.
Chung fielded a strong squad with a view to taking the game to Myanmar, who lost 1-0 to Việt Nam in the group round match last week.
However, the three-time winners conceded a goal just 10 minutes into the game.
Goalkeeper Khổng Thị Hằng tried to punch the ball away but San Thaw Thaw gathered the ball and found the back of the net from close range.
Captain Huỳnh Như led the Vietnamese front line with a number of threatening attacks, and Việt Nam levelled the score in the 24th minute.
Midfielder Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung slipped the ball behind Myanmar's defence, finding Nguyễn Thùy Trang on the right wing.
Trang's low shot was blocked by goalkeeper May Zin Nwe but Như got on the rebound to make it 1-1 for Việt Nam.
Fifteen minutes later Như pushed Việt Nam ahead with a super shot that the Myanmar goalkeeper could only watch as it sailed past her.
This goal was all the sweeter as it was Như's 59th goal for the national team, making her the highest female scorer in Việt Nam's history.
Things seemed to be going right for Việt Nam as they led going into the halftime break.
However, Myanmar came out of the blocks raring to go and created many chances in the second half.
Khin Mo Mo Tun's corner hit the post and bounced to Thaw. who tapped it in to level the game at 2-2 all at the 58th minute.
The last ten minutes had all the drama, and plenty of goals too.
Như stole the ball after a misunderstanding between Nwe and her defender, setting up Phạm Hải Yến who passed it into an empty net.
Just a minute later though, substitute goalie of Trần Thị Kim Thanh failed to collect the ball and Naw Htet Htet Wai capitalised, making the score 3-3.
Thanh was guilty again as Việt Nam conceded a fourth. She needlessly tipped the ball onto the crossbar from a shot, and Thaw completed her hattrick in the 88th minute after collecting the ball.
"I take responsibility for this loss," coach Chung told reporters at the post-match briefing.
"My players met problems in physicality. Myanmar also suffered the same issue but they had a determined game while our players lost their focus. The defence did not work well leading to two goals conceded in the last minutes.
"I thought it was a 3-2 win but we lost 4-3. Việt Nam will have many changes in personnel after the AFF Cup defeat. Some young players were inexperienced while the veterans were lacking fitness. We need to improve a lot," he said.
AFF Cup is the last international tournament of Việt Nam in 2022. Players will return to clubs for the national league before heading to 2023 events including the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in July. VNS