Fear of early exit keeps Vietnam going

Sunday, March 4, 2012

PRE-TOURNAMENT favourites Vietnam (pic, in white) are proving the pundits right so far and have confirmed top spot in Group B after their win last night.

They became the second team, with Myanmar in Group A being the other, to move into the final-four of the Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy (HBT) after securing a 2-0 victory over Timor Leste at the Berakas Sports Complex last night.

The turning point of the game was in the 75th minute when midfielder Raimundo Jose Do Rego Sarmento was sent off by referee Min Hla of Myanmar for flooring and kicking one of the Vietnam players.

Down to 10 men, Timor Leste crumbled late to allow Vietnam to score two goals in the final 10 minutes of the match.

The Vietnamese boys didn't want to pack their bags early and it proved to be the motivation that helped them get the win.

"We had seven points before this game and we knew they were not enough as chances were high that we might be sent back home early," said Pham Nhu Thuan, the assistant coach of Vietnam, during a post-match interview.

"It was always a difficult game against Timor Leste because of their strength and power. Our team lack experience, but I thought that we did really well in the second half," he added.

"Our opponents began to tire and we got two nice goals to get us into the next round," he added.

Vietnam are already looking into the semi-finals and are hoping that they can keep up their good form to take it all the way in the biennial tournament.

"We might be playing against Myanmar, Laos or Indonesia in the next round and we must play at 100 per cent," said Nhu Thuan.

"We must continue with our form. We want to make it to the final and become champions. We will need more though and must become better," he added.

On the other hand, Timor Leste coach Norio Tsukitate felt that the match was always a difficult one for them to take all three points. "Our players need more experience. Some of them couldn't concentrate."The Brunei Times

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