|Việt Nam's U16 players celebrate their goal in a 2-0 win over Thailand in the semi-finals of the AFF championship on August 10 in Indonesia. Photo of VFF|
HÀ NỘI — Coach Nguyễn Quốc Tuấn was happy his players earned a berth in the final of the 2022 AFF U16 Youth Championship in Indonesia.
Việt Nam defeated Thailand 2-0 in the semi-final match on Wednesday to advance to the gold-medal game.
"I am glad that we won to be in the final. I am happy about the victory. The players did a good job following strict discipline and delivering the tactics we trained them on," said Tuấn at the post-match briefing.
After the first 15 minutes of searching and probing each other, Việt Nam's Phan Thanh Đức Thiện opened the first attack as he went solo to face Thai goalkeeper Tissanu Khuptanawin in the box. But his shot was blocked by defender Jirapol Saelio who came home in time deflect.
Ten minutes later, Thiện again threatened Khuptanawin when he received a ball in the box, but missed his shot.
With Thailand's Saranyawat Naprasert unable to score from several dead ball situations, it was Việt Nam who made it count in the 29th minute with a finish from captain Nguyễn Công Phương from just outside the box.
With Thailand continuing to be frustrated by a well-composed Việt Nam backline, Nguyễn Trọng Tuấn then headed in a cross from Phương in the 82nd minute to settle the score.
Việt Nam ran to the field to celebrate their sixth undefeated match at all levels against Thailand.
However, their celebration was affected by the red card for midfielder Hoàng Công Hậu for a clash with keeper Khuptanawin just five minutes before the final whistle.
"It was a tense match, and we played with one man less from the 85th minute. We will not have red-card receiver Hậu in the next match, and our goalie Hải will be sidelined from the final because of his thigh and ankle injuries from the 75th," Tuấn said.
On the Thai side, coach Phipop Onmo said that his team lost to Việt Nam in all areas.
He said Vietnamese players prepared for the match better than his team. Thailand had chances but could not score, leading to a defeat to a rival who converted their opportunities.
Onmo said he would talk with the team to lift them ahead of the third-place playoff against Myanmar on Friday.
Việt Nam will have a rematch against hosts Indonesia who fought back to beat Myanmar 5-4 in the penalty shootout after both teams were held 1-1 at the end of regulation time in the other semi-final match.
Việt Nam and Indonesia had previously clashed in the group stage, with the latter coming off 2-1 winners.
"My players suffered heavy pressure from the home supporters. They played without focus, conceding two goals quickly," Tuấn said.
At least 10,000 fans attended the match. They kept screaming and throwing bottles on the Vietnamese side.
Coach Bima Sakti had to apologise for the incident and said he hoped it would not happen again to any team.
Sakti said he appreciated Việt Nam, saying they were quality and played in high spirits.
"We beat them in the group round, but it was not a criteria to evaluate them. The Vietnamese players are more experienced than us. They practised a month in Germany and competed with young clubs of the Bundesliga," he said.
"We will have to stay on the ground, work hard and play harder than them (in the final), and I positively believe in another win." VNS