After a 0-0 draw in the first half of their Group B Matchday 3 on the early morning of October 8, Vietnam conceded two goals in the second half but levelled at 2-2 in late minutes. However, China’s star Wu Lei netted in the fifth minute of added time to earn the hosts a dramatic 3-2 victory.
In a post-match brief, Park expressed his regret as the "Golden Star Warriors" suffered such a narrow defeat in the last seconds of the game.
“The Vietnamese team lost 3-2, especially by the decisive goal in injury time. Today the team played well, did not give up despite conceding two goals. The loss was regretful," the Korean strategist said.
Park was questioned about replacing central defender Bui Tien Dung with young player Thanh Binh late in the second half, which is considered the turning point of the match as Thanh Binh twice made mistakes leading to the two conceded goals.
However, Park did not blame the player and took all the blame on his part. "Perhaps I made that substitution too soon. It was my fault. Player errors are the fault and responsibility of the coach. I can't share anything at the moment. The players have to make mistakes to grow. I say again that the mistakes of the players are the fault of the coach in making substitutions," said Park.
Vietnam (in white) have yet gained any points in the final round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Asian Qualifiers. (Photo: VFF)
The Vietnamese team did not played too badly before making their own mistakes and letting the opponents exploit. When they were 2-0 down, Park’s side did not give up and even equalised in the last 10 minutes thanks to two impressive goals from Ho Tan Tai and Tien Linh from effective attacks, before conceding the decisive goal by the Espanyol striker.
Sharing after the match, striker Tien Linh said: "Scoring the goal relieves a lot of pressure for me as well as the whole team. Unfortunately, the Vietnamese team could not keep the score 2-2 until the final minute. That's football. I hope the next game the team plays better and gets good results."
"When I scored in the 90th minute, I was very happy. At that time, I thought in my mind that we could keep one point. If we were more fortunate, we could win the full three points. But the Vietnamese team was unlucky and lost the match. It's a pity," Tien Linh added.
Vietnam were the better side in stats during the match against their neighbours. (Photo: AFC)
Meanwhile, on the opposite side, the head coach of the Chinese team, Li Tie, said: "No match in the third qualifying round is easy. Confronting Vietnam, if we played better, we could have won 2-0. However, last night's performance was enough to prove how well the Chinese team can play."
"China made mistakes, and let Vietnam equalise 2-2. But we did not give up and scored the decisive goal. Of course, luck was also on our side," Li Tie said.
With this result, the Vietnamese team lost all three matches in the third qualifying round so far and fell to the bottom of Group B.
Also in the group, Japan had to leave Saudi Arabia with empty hands after suffering a 1-0 defeat from the hosts.
Meanwhile, Australia continued to consolidate the top spot with a 3-1 victory over Oman. Australia gained their full nine points after three matches.
Group B standing after matchday 3 of the final round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Asian Qualifiers. (Photo: ASEAN Football)
In Group A, Tottenham Hotspur star Son Heung-min shone at the right time as he scored the decisive goal in the 89th minute to help the Republic of Korea win 2-1 against Syria. This result helps the ROK to rank 2nd in Group A with seven points, two less than the leading team Iran.
In this third matchday, Iran beat the UAE 1-0, while the other match between Iraq and Lebanon ended with a 0-0 draw.
Results in matchday 3 of the final round of the FIFA World Cup 2022 Asian Qualifiers. (Photo: AFC)
After the match against China, the Vietnamese team will only have a few days to rest before entering the next match against Oman on October 12.
This continues to be another opportunity for Park Hang-seo's side to win the first score in the last qualifying round. After three defeats, Vietnam must earn points against Oman in the hope to qualify for third place in Group B.