Thailand’s female football team emerged victorious from the 2016 AFF Women’s Championship after a controversial penalty shootout against their Vietnamese opponents on Thursday.
Women from the Vietnamese and Thai national football teams battled it out in the finals of the Southeast Asian football tournament in Mandalay, Myanmar.
Vietnam conceded their first goal in the 7th minute as Vietnamese midfielder Chuong Thi Kieu put a header into her own net.
Forward Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyen managed to net an equalizer for the Vietnamese squad in the 85th minute.
The official 90 minutes ended in a 1-1 draw, followed by a goalless extra time that led to a penalty shootout to determine the winning team.
As Thai player Rattikan failed to score on the sixth penalty kick, midfielder Nguyen Thi Lieu from Vietnam stepped up amidst a 3-3 score hoping to help her team snatch the gold medal.
Lieu’s strike was partially blocked by Thai goalie Waraporn Boonsing, causing the ball to spin, drop, and roll its way past the goal line before being shot away by the goalkeeper.
Assuming the ball had passed the goal line, Lieu, along with her teammates and coaches stormed the field to celebrate their victory before an interjection by the assisting referees.
Despite head referee Thein Thein Aye from Myanmar recognizing the win, the two lineswomen, Singapore’s Mohd Nasir and Merlo Albano from the Philippines, stated the ball had not entirely crossed the goal line.
The two teams continued with the shootout until Vietnamese midfielder Phuong Thao failed her attempt on the ninth kick, resulting in Thailand being crowned with the title.
This win marks Thailand’s third SE Asian women’s football title, cementing their hold on the most outstanding achievement in the region.
Duong Vu Lam, head of the Vietnamese Football Delegation to Myanmar, reiterated his belief that Lieu’s goal should have been accepted.
“We expressed our complaints to the organizers but could not alter the result as it had been decided by the referee,” Lam said.
“We will submit the video of the match to demand an apology for this mistake,” he continued.
Coach Mai Duc Chung also expressed dissatisfaction, affirming that all coaches from the Myanmar team had agreed that Vietnam should have been the champions.
Despite the loss, Chung’s team will be awarded VND1 billion (US$44,850) by the Vietnam Football Federation for their tenacious efforts.
The women are expected to return to Vietnam on Friday.
The Myanmarese hosts finished third after winning 1-0 over the U-20 Australian team on Thursday afternoon.