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Park: Winning was all that mattered

Al Ain: Park Hang-seo claimed winning three points in his side’s crucial AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 clash with Yemen was the main goal as Vietnam were left waiting to see if they advance to the next round following their 2-0 victory in Al Ain on Wednesday evening.

Victory by three goals or more would have guaranteed the Southeast Asians a place in the last 16 but, while Nguyen Quang Hai and Que Ngoc Hai secured the Vietnamese their first AFC Asian Cup win since 2007, the outcome of Thursday’s final matches in the group phase of the competition will determine whether they remain in the United Arab Emirates.

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“Of course it would have been good to win with more goals, but whether it was 1-0 or 2-0 we really needed three points,” he said. “We played more aggressively from the beginning than before and the substitutes I chose were also aggressive players.

“If we scored more it would have been better, but the main thing was to get three points. I asked the players to be calm and just to concentrate on winning the game.”

Ngoc Hai’s second-half penalty put the seal on the win for the Vietnamese, but it was a trademark curling free-kick from Quang Hai seven minutes before the interval that put Park’s side on the way to claiming all three points.


Match Highlights - January 16

The goal was the talented Hanoi FC midfielder’s first of the tournament and the coach revealed he had discussed the lack of goals with the 21-year-old the day before the game.

“Until now, in this competition, Quang Hai hadn’t been able to score and in the previous game he had some chances to score,” said Park. “So yesterday in training I joked with him that he hasn’t scored.

“But he said he was confident he was going to score soon, so he made it today and I’m very proud of him.”

The Vietnamese must now wait to see what happens in the games on Thursday, when Oman take on Turkmenistan and DPR Korea play Lebanon, to find out if they take one of the four places available in the Round of 16 for the third-placed teams with the best records.

“As the head coach I really, really hope to go to the next round,” said Park. “But I would like to say that we still need to make more efforts to improve Vietnamese football and we need to go step-by-step because we’re not at the top of Asian football.

“We cannot go to the next round by ourselves so we will just have to wait for tomorrow’s games, but I really hope to get good news tomorrow.”

The defeat means Yemen leave their first-ever appearance as a unified nation at the AFC Asian Cup without a point and coach Jan Kocian was left disappointed by a third straight defeat in which he fielded debutant goalkeeper Salem Al Harsh in place of Saoud Al Sowadi.

“We have had problems with the goalkeeper, our first choice is injured and today was the first time for the new goalkeeper and so we wanted to get to halftime at 0-0,” he said.

“That result would have been good for us and then we planned to change after halft-ime the system to be more offensive. We wanted to stay compact and to give us the chance to counterattack more in the second half.

“In the second half we played better. In the first half we played well in defence and we were compact and in the second half we were better in offence.”

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