The Golden Star Warriors showed a brilliant fighting spirit and tireless efforts throughout the match while hosting the Socceroos at Hanoi-based My Dinh National Stadium on Tuesday, but failed to convert any of their opportunities into a goal.
Meanwhile, a first-half header by Rhyan Grant proved enough to secure the Socceroos their second consecutive victory, thus cementing their lead at the top of the group with six points.
“Today the players performed well and complied with the tactics. I think there is no big difference between Vietnam and Australia in terms of level, but we are inferior regarding physique,” Park told reporters during a press briefing after the match.
Commenting on Australia’s opener, the coach said that Vietnam could have avoided that goal if the defenders had chosen position in a more appropriate manner. “I am regretful about our defeat in this match,” he went on.
Vietnam's Nguyen Quang Hai fires a shot during their match with Australia at My Dinh National Stadium on September 7. (Photo: VFF)
In the first half, the referee made a controversial ruling as he denied Vietnam a penalty after Nguyen Phong Hong Duy’s first-half attempt hit the hand of an Australian player in the box.
“Anyway, the decision was already made. The referee resorted to VAR. Maybe he thought it was not a deliberate Australian action. I also followed the referee’s ruling,” Park stated.
Explaining the reason for his choice of goalkeeper Dang Van Lam instead of Bui Tan Truong for the match, the Republic of Korea tactician said: “Tan Truong played well in the past four qualifying matches. Australia have better physique and fitness and are good at high balls, so I chose Van Lam, who can handle high balls better. That’s my point. Today, Lam did a good job despite the loss.”
Regarding the team’s plan, Park held that the players will have a few days off to recharge themselves before reconvening on September 16 to prepare for the away matches against Oman and China next month.
After the second matchday, Australia retain their lead in Group B with six points, followed by Saudi Arabia who edged out Oman 1-0 on the same day for their second consecutive victory. Japan clinched their first win by seeing off China 1-0 to sit in fourth place behind Oman. Vietnam are now fifth on zero points, above China on goal difference.
The Group B action will resume on October 7 when Vietnam face China and Australia take on Oman in their Matchday Three fixtures.