Football pundit and correspondent Gabriel Tan has emphasized the vital role played by coach Park Hang-seo in Vietnam’s gold medal win in SEA Games 31.
“The final was intense with both Vietnam and Thailand determined to win. In the end, Vietnam came out on top and I think they deserve it for showing composure and the ability to handle pressure.”
Though Nham Manh Dung scored the winning goal in Vietnam’s 1-0 win, Tan said Nguyen Tien Linh was the man of the match in the final.
“Manh Dung scored a wonderful goal. But I have to give it to Tien Linh. He had a worthy response to all the criticisms aimed at him.
“Tien Linh contributed more to the team than just scoring goals. The key pass to switch the attacking direction that led to Manh Dung’s goal showed his amazing vision. The way he controlled the ball, dribbled past the opponent and played lower to distribute the ball, all of them were top quality.”
In the final, Park made two crucial substitutions. Ly Cong Hoang Anh brought balance to the midfield, while Dung scored the winning goal.
“We should compliment him,” Tan said.
“There were many players that Park could have brought in the second half, but he chose Dung. He knew what Dung can do and put him on when Thailand’s defenders started getting tired.
“Sometimes changes lead to mistakes, but in this case, Park achieved ultimate efficiency.”
Coach Park Hang-seo gives direction to players on the sideline during the SEA Games 31 final between Vietnam and Thailand on May 22, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Tan also spoke about why Vietnam did not score in the first half in any of their games but still won five out of six.
“I believe Vietnam were patient. They were well-organized and focused more on their defensive line. That is the foundation of Park’s football philosophy.
“So, even when Vietnam cannot score in the first half, it is not a problem with Park. The endurance of the Vietnamese players gives Park confidence his team will find a goal in the second half.”
Tan picked his favorite players of the tournament.
“I really like Le Van Do. He’s only 21 and, despite playing with older players, still made a significant contribution to Vietnam’s success.
“If I have to choose the best player, I’ll pick captain Do Hung Dung for his excellence and great leadership. Without him, Vietnam could not have won gold.
“I can only say that Park deserves all the praise. He has done a lot of wonderful things.”
The immense support from the home fans was also an important factor in Vietnam winning gold, he said.
“Sometimes fans can make a difference, sometimes they can’t. In this tournament, Vietnam fans made a big difference. Their passion is undeniable. Even for games without Vietnam, the stadiums were full. I have nothing but great words to say about Vietnamese fans and I hope to experience the football atmosphere there someday.”
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