Friday, December 18, 2009

What the Vietnamese newspapers said of their defeat

Malaysia win football gold
10:36' 18/12/2009 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – Malaysia defeated Viet Nam 1-0 in Vientiane yesterday, December 17, to take their first gold in the under-23 Southeast Asian Games football competition since 1989.

Malaysia defeated Viet Nam 1-0 in Vientiane yesterday. (Photo: VNN)
Viet Nam, who became the top candidate for the title after defending champion Thailand were ousted in the semi-final round on Tuesday, lost due to an own goal by defender Mai Xuan Hop at the 85th minute.

Hop, who dreamed of celebrating his 23rd birthday yesterday with a great victory, lost the game with a light touch to the ball in an attempt to stop a shot from Malaysia's Talaha Norshahrul Idlan. He diverted the ball into his own net, as injured goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong couldn't react.

As the team was considered higher ranked than their rival, Viet Nam, who beat Malaysia 3-1 in the group stage, kicked off their game with high speed and played a better first half, but could not make their dominance count.

The Vietnamese side had several chances to open the score but they failed at every attempt.

Both teams struggled to find their fluency in a scrappy opening spell, although as the half wore on, Viet Nam started to enjoy more possession.

They went close on 25 minutes with a header well saved by Malaysia's Mohamad Shaibinee Allawee, but failed to create many clear openings in a stadium filled with thousands of Viet Nam supporters clad in red T-shirts.

With a good performance, the Malaysian goalie disappointed all attempts by Viet Nam's Phan Thanh Binh, Phan Thanh Hung and Mai Tien Thanh.

"They played a good first half, but we saw a totally different team in the second half. They went on the attack," said Ngo Manh Hai, from the Viet Nam Football Federation.

Hai also said that Vietnamese players didn't look in top form yesterday. "It seemed that their peak was at the match against Singapore on Sunday with a 4-1 victory. They didn't look rested enough for such an important event. They also didn't have a suitable plan against Malaysia."

In the second half, Malaysia was much more threatening, particularly on the counter-attack, to test keeper Truong, who suffered a shoulder injury 15 minutes after the break.

Saarani Ahmad Fakri missed a good chance with his head at the near post after a cross by Idlan. Four minutes later they had a shot cleared off the line.

Zaquan Adha burst through the middle just after coming on as a substitute in the 69th minute, but could not finish.

The goal for Malaysia was a heavy hammer to Viet Nam, who could not do anything to improve the situation, even though coach Henrique Calisto made several personnel changes.

Viet Nam's best chances were in the last minutes by Tien Thanh, who scored five goals this SEA Games, as he ran from behind to make a tap to the goalmouth. But it went wide. Later a ball was sent to the box but goalie Allawee wouldn't let it past.

Malaysia coach K. Rajagopal said it was lucky that his team lost in the group stage, because it motivated them to try harder.

"I think after the Thailand match my players showed what they have," he said. Malaysia put Thailand out in the group stage, ending their run of successes, which started in 1993.

He said his team had shown "a lot of determination, a lot of spirit and a fighting attitude. I think we are a good football team".

"I think we deserve to be the champions of the SEA Games in 2009. I think we played beyond our expectations," he added, saying that he had encouraged his team to exploit Viet Nam on the break.

VietNamNet/Viet Nam News


Friday ,Dec 18,2009, Posted at: 10:49(GMT+7)
Own goal destroys VN's 50-year dream for SEA Games gold

An own goal about 10 minutes before the final whistle in the Southeast Asian Games football final Thursday in Laos prevented Vietnam’s 50-year dream for the Games gold from coming true.

Vietnam defender Mai Xuan Hop made an own goal in a bid to stop a cross. The ball hit his shoulder and left seriously-injured keeper Bui Tan Truong no chance. The keeper's shoulder was badly injured after hitting against a Malaysian player earlier.

Mai Xuan Hop (R) cries after the final. He was the defender who made the own goal in Vietnam’s 0-1 loss to Malaysia (Photo: SGGP)

All Vietnamese fans at the Main Stadium of the National Sports Complex in Vientiane became totally quiet at that moment.

Then, Vietnam striker Mai Tien Thanh got a good chance in the smaller box but from a cross by defender Tran Dinh Dong, Thanh’s touch pushed the ball over the bar.

In the first half, Malaysia keeper Allawee made a brilliant save to deny Thanh’s header in the 24th minute.

During the first half, Malaysia played defensively and challenged Vietnam’s patience in their attacks. Suddenly, the former changed the tactics after the break, pressing their opponents close to the other side of the field. The game became a very tough time for Vietnam, who came into the final as the favorites.

Vietnamese fans seen sad in Ho Chi Minh City right after Malaysia took the lead in the final minutes in the game against Vietnam (Photo: SGGP)

It was a revenge for Malaysia who lost to Vietnam 1-3 in the group stage on Dec. 6. The victory ended Malaysia’s 20-year wait for the SEA Games gold medal since 1989, but destroyed Vietnam’s 50-year dream for such a gold.

In the 1959 SEAP Games (currently SEA Games), the southern Vietnam squad became the champions. The title has never come to Vietnam again, although the Vietnamese national squad under Portuguese coach Henrique Calisto won the 2008 ASEAN Championships last December. This December in the Laos Games, his U-23 Vietnam team drew defending champions Thailand and defeated Malaysia, East Timor and Cambodia in the group stage, then beat Singapore in the semifinals.

It was Malaysia who sent Thailand home early on Dec. 11 with a 2-1 win thanks to two late goals.

Before the final, Malaysia coach Rajagopal said he thanked Vietnam for defeating his team in the group stage because the loss helped his team become stronger and improve themselves much.

Vietnam coach Calisto said the final was the worst game his team played during the SEA Games campaign. His team lost by themselves, he said, mentioning bad luck in the own goal.

In the knock-out for the bronze medal, U-23 Singapore beat U-23 Laos 3-1.

By Van Khanh


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