|Viettel vs Ulsan Hyundai at the AFC Champions League held at Leo Stadium in Thailand on Saturday. Photo Viettel FC|
HÀ NỘI Temporary Viettel coach Jurgen Gede said his team only lost to Ulsan Hyundai, the defending champions of the AFC Champions League, due to one crucial moment of lost focus and otherwise performed.
Midfielder Nguyễn Thanh Bình scored a last-minute own goal to allow the South Korean side to escape with a win 1-0 in Group F of the AFC Champions League held at Leo Stadium in Thailand on Saturday.
“I am very proud of my players’ performance. Football has always had its beauty. It is a show of will and mind, not just feet. With a squad of about five or six young players, we wanted to create conditions for them to show themselves and practice. Such matches are very necessary for them,” said Gede, who is leading the team in the competition as normal coach Trương Việt Hòang doesn't have an AFC pro licence, after the match.
With a disciplined defence and a resilient spirit, Viettel made things difficult for the South Korean giants.
Unfortunately for Viettel, in the first minute of injury time, a moment of distraction prevented the Vietnamese side from taking a point, as when trying to clear a corner, midfielder Bình bundled the ball into his own net.
“We got the loss for a moment. We needed to be more focused on situations in the box, especially at decisive moments. This is the first time Viettel have participated in the tournament and some mistakes are understandable. It is also a normal thing in football and we will gain lessons for the next stage," said Gede.
Ulsan Hyundai had more than 70 per cent of possession but couldn’t open the scoring in the first half. The South Korean team did put the ball past goalkeeper Trần Nguyên Mạnh at one stage but it was ruled out for offside.
In the second half, Viettel tried their best to gain control of midfield and launched counter-attacks whenever they had a chance. The Vietnamese side only had 30 per cent of possession, but still managed four shots at the goal, compared to Ulsan’s five.
"We had a very hard-fought match but we played with the best spirit. In the next matches, Viettel will make every effort to get good results,” said defender and captain Bùi Tiến Dũng.
In the group's other match, Pathum United of Thailand beat Kaya FC of the Philippines 4-1.
V.League 1 champions Viettel are in Group F of the AFC Champions League with Ulsan Hyundai, BG Pathum United of Thailand and Kaya Iloilo of the Philippines.
Viettel will next meet Kaya Iloilo tomorrow. VNS