BANGKOK (28 Nov 2012) – Phan Thanh Hung, the chief coach of Vietnam came for his first ever AFF Suzuki Cup press conference last night under not so great a circumstance. After conceding their second loss to the Philippines in two editions of the AFF Suzuki Cup, the atmosphere in the Vietnam camp was anything but euphoric.
Emilio Caligdong, more fondly known as Chieffy, slammed the only goal of the game in the 85th minute of play to revive Philippines ambition and send Vietnam into a precarious position of not making the semi-finals for the first time since 2004.
“We froze,” said Thanh Hung. “We made a lot of wrong passes and I thought that the loss came from our own mistakes. It is our worse game since I took over this team.
“I think that the problem was that no one was pushing the team on the pitch. There were psychological issues where there was no good movement with the ball.”
Vietnam known for their short passing game to add to their burst of speed, seemed to be at a loss where none were taking responsibility to push the team forward. Even Le Cong Vinh – the hero of 2008 – had a quiet night and was replaced 20 minutes to the end.
That left the darting runs of Pham Than Luong dangling as even the change for Nguyen Van Quyet failed to ignite the fading frontline.
With the loss, Vietnam have little choice but to beat Thailand in their next match in two days.
In the meantime, Philippines chief coach Michael Weiss was not too buoyed by the win where he said that the three points was a lot harder than it looks.
“We had to play compact and not allow Vietnam the space to run and that was the reason why we had to be a lot more defensive in the first half than we would have liked,” added Weiss.
“But we relied on the changes in the second half (for Caligdong, Denis Wolf and also Angel Guirado) and that made the difference. Now, we are back in the race.
“We have to re-strategise for our next match and I would like to point out that Myanmar are not the weakest team in the group.”
Pix by Thananuwat Srirasant (World Sport Group)