Coach Park confident Vietnam on the right track
Hanoi: Park Hang-seo is confident his Vietnam side can continue to show improvement with more preparation time after the ASEAN nation booked their place in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup Finals.
A 0-0 draw with Afghanistan in Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium was enough for the 2007 co-hosts to secure their first qualification for the finals since the country’s reunification in 1976 as Vietnam guaranteed at least second spot in Group C.
“Vietnam did not win the game, but one point is enough to go to the Finals,” said the coach from Korea Republic, who was appointed last month.
“We did not play well today, but our players tried their best. I think that the main reason is the short time preparation so we did not have enough time to show our ability.
“Everything will be better when we have more time working together.”
The point was Afghanistan’s third of the campaign, having shared the points with the Vietnamese in their previous meeting and also drawn with Jordan, but it was not enough to keep Otto Pfister’s side alive in the attempt to qualify for their first-ever AFC Asian Cup Finals.
The veteran German coach, who took Togo to the FIFA World Cup in Germany in 2006, felt the Vietnamese had fortune on their side throughout the 90 minutes.
“I think that we were unlucky in this game,” said the former Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia coach. “Our players showed their best performance, high spirited and made four good scoring chances.
“Unfortunately, we missed all of our chances, so we did not win the game. Vietnam had only one good chance in this game, that was the header from striker Nguyen Anh Duc. They were lucky today.”
Jordan, meanwhile, sealed their passage to the Finals with a 1-0 win in Phnom Penh over Cambodia as the two-time quarter-finalists guaranteed themselves a top two finish.
Jamal Abu Abed’s side sit two points clear of Vietnam at the summit and a draw in their final game against Prak Sovannara’s team will seal top spot for the Jordanians ahead of the draw for the Finals.
“It was not an easy game,” said Abu Abed, who saw Munther Abu Amarah score the only goal of the game. “My players tried their best and we could and should have got many more goals, if not for their goalkeeper.
“The important thing is we won and now we are through.”
As well as ensuring Jordan progressed, the result ended Cambodia’s hopes of advancing to the Finals and coach Prak conceded his side were second best to the Jordanians.
“I hoped for a draw and had said that would be an achievement,” he said after the game. “We came close today but we lost to a technically and physically superior team.
“Our keeper [Sou] Yaty was instrumental in keeping the deficit down but we also played well as a team to close down the opposition and limit their chances. We will work harder and we will improve.”