Vietnam tasted their first bitter pill at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 on Saturday after losing 1-2 to hosts Indonesia in the first leg of their semifinal.
The Vietnamese players exhibited a good overall performance but failed to convert their many opportunities at Pakansari Stadium in West Java.
The first goal went to Indonesia in the sixth minute when midfielder Yama Pranata headed the ball into Vietnam’s net.
Indonesia’s attempts to widen the lead backfired in the 16th minute when Vietnam were awarded a penalty kick following a foul by full-back Benny Wahyudi against 31-year-old Vietnamese star striker Cong Vinh.
Vietnamese attacking midfielder Van Quyet seized the opportunity to equalize.
Despite facing the confused Indonesian players for the rest of the first half, Vietnam were unable to net any more goal.
The visitors paid the price five minutes into the second half when the second spot kick was awarded to Indonesia, after a tackle by Vietnamese defender Que Ngoc Hai on Indonesian midfielder Stefano Lilipaly.
Forward Boaz Solossa defeated Vietnamese goalkeeper Nguyen Manh to secure his team’s 2-1 glory.
Cong Vinh, Van Quyet, and Thanh Trung were all set up in favorable positions for an equalizer but they could not make it for the rest of the game.
Indonesian player Boaz Solossa (R) celebrates after a successful penalty kick against Vietnam in the first leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal, December 3, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Van Quyet (R) celebrates after scoring Vietnam’s equalizer in the first leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal against Indonesia, December 3, 2016. Photo: Tuoi Tre
In a post-match press conference the same day, Vietnamese coach Nguyen Huu Thang congratulated his opponents’ victory and blamed bad luck for his men’s defeat.
“Despite the loss, I’m satisfied with my team’s performance,” the coach said. “We created many clear chances but only managed to convert one of them, as luck would have it. I think it would have been a fairer outcome if the match had ended in a draw, with one goal each for both teams.”
The two teams will meet again in Hanoi on December 7 for the second leg of their semifinal. The winners will face either Myanmar or Thailand in the championship’s finals, which will be staged in a home-and-away pattern on December 14 and 17.
Hosts Myanmar will take on the Thais on Sunday night.
The AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 is a soccer championship among eight Southeast Asian countries, co-hosted by Myanmar and the Philippines between November 19 and December 17.