|Caíque Venâncio Lemes scored the only goal to help Viettel leave AFC Champions League with two victories. Photo courtesy of Viettel FC
HÀ NỘI — Viettel have ended their debut AFC Champions League campaign with a 1-0 victory against Kaya FC from the Philippines.
In the first half, Viettel overwhelmed their opponents but failed to score.
The turning point of the match on Sunday came when two Kaya FC players, Simone Rota and Masanari Omura, received red cards in the 53rd and 55th minutes.
Two minutes later, Caíque Venâncio Lemes scored the only goal of the match for Viettel from a free-kick to seal the victory for the V.League 1 side.
“In the end, we were lucky to be here in this competition,” said Viettel’s temporary coach Jurgen Gede.
“My team tried to score right at the beginning of the match. Unfortunately, my players couldn't make it in the first half. We created many chances but failed to score as our players’ decisions in the penalty area were not converted into goals," he said.
“This is also an issue that Viettel need to improve in the future. Our team tried to attack the opponent’s two wings and to put the ball deep in the pitch, but the game was very difficult.
“Unlike Ulsan Hyundai or BG Pathum, Kaya FC have a very dense defence in front of their penalty area. At this point, the fans may not be satisfied with the 1-0 result but this is football and it is like that sometimes."
Gede continued: “And in the end, I have to say we were lucky. Playing in the AFC Champions League was meaningful for many young players to gain experience.
“We need to see how we can continue to improve their skills and further develop the team to a higher level.”
Viettel returned to Việt Nam yesterday. The team finished third in Group F of the AFC Champions League with six points from two wins and four losses.
Viettel's victory was enough for Việt Nam to rank 12th in the AFC club rankings, meaning the country will have two more clubs enter the competition's qualifying stages next year.
According to footyrankings.com, Việt Nam has 39,232 points in 12th position, fifth in the East region of the AFC, after Japan, South Korea, China and Thailand, while North Korea fell to 13th with 36,257 points.
With this position, Việt Nam will earn one group stage slot and two AFC Champions League play-off spots in the 2023 season.
The AFC ranking is calculated using the results in the Champions League and AFC Cup in the last four seasons. VNS