Coach Li Xiaopeng was not happy at all when China lost 1-3 to Vietnam in the final round of World Cup qualifiers in Hanoi on Tuesday night.
“I’m disappointed with this result. I want to apologize to the fans. We made some mistakes at the start of the game. This result is hard to accept. Vietnam have improved really fast in the past seven games of World Cup qualifiers. Meanwhile, my players were too stressed, leading to two early goals in the first half and losing the game,” Li said in the post-match conference.
Considered the stronger team, China pushed forward in the first few minutes to seek the opener. However, the lack of focus in the defense made them pay the price. In the ninth minute, captain Do Hung Dung made a pinpoint cross for Ho Tan Tai to head it in for Vietnam. Seven minutes later, Vietnam got another one. This time, Dung set up Nguyen Tien Linh with a pass inside the box and all he had to do was tapping it in.
Despite having 60 percent of possession, China were still struggling in finding the net in the next minutes and they conceded another goal in the 76th minute with a cracker from Phan Van Duc. China could only find a goal in the very last minute and lost 1-3.
“After the break, I replaced the midfielders. But to be honest, our players haven’t played together in a long time so we couldn’t catch up with the tempo,” Li said.
This was China’s first loss against Vietnam at the national level. They were also out of chance to qualify for the World Cup 2022, with only five points after eight games.
“China are still improving, but it’s a long way to go,” Li added.
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