The better team lost insists Vietnam's Riedl
HANOI, January 24 (Asean Football Championship) - Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl insisted that his side's dominance in the first leg of the 2007 Asean Football Championship against Thailand on Wednesday did not warrant a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the three-time champions.
Goals from Datsakorn Thonglao and substitute Pipat Thonkanya gave the Thais a healthy advantage ahead of Sunday's return leg in Bangkok but Austrian coach Riedl felt his team deserved better.
'I don't know where to start,' said Riedl, who is currently in his third stint as head coach of Vietnam. 'We saw a very strong Vietnam team and we were very unlucky to lose.
'I don't remember a Vietnam side dominate Thailand the way we did, particularly in the second half.
'Missing a penalty didn't help but I think today the better side lost.'
Vietnam were undone by a goal in each half with Datsakorn sweeping home a superb free-kick in the 27th minute before Pipat sealed the win with a low strike nine minutes from full-time.
The Vietnamese had the chance to go into the interval on level terms but Phan Thanh Binh missed a penalty on the stroke of half-time
'The first goal was a free-kick and you can always concede from these while the second goal was an individual defensive error,' said Riedl.
'We missed a penalty which would have made it 1-1 and the outcome could have been very different, but I am pleased with the performance of the whole team today.
'The second leg will be a lot more difficult than we expected but we are still in the race. If we put in that kind of performance and get a bit of luck then we can still go through to the final.'
Meanwhile, Thailand coach Chanvit Polchivin felt that Vietnam's overly-physical approach was their downfall.
'Vietnam committed so many fouls and I think that is why Vietnam lost,' said the former Asian Coach of the Year. 'It is football, not boxing.
'I have seen Vietnam play many times and I love Vietnamese football. There are always so many supporters which you don't really get in Asean right now and if Vietnam played the football they are capable of playing they can beat Thailand.
'But so many times they kick Datsakorn, why? They kick Kiatisuk (Senamuang), why? They start to lose control and start fouling players and they lose the match.'
While away goals are not a factor in the Asean Football Championship, Thailand will be confident of completing the job in Bangkok, where they beat Vietnam twice during December's King's Cup tournament.
But Chanvit is refusing to take anything for granted.
'In football you always have a chance until the referee blows the final whistle,' he said. 'If we can come to Hanoi and win 2-0 then there is no reason Vietnam cannot do the same in Bangkok.'