The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) will request "concerned agencies" to investigate Vietnam’s "incomprehensible" 4-2 defeat to Malaysia at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 semi-final, its chairman said Thursday.
“We will ask concerned authorities to investigate unusual things, especially of the [Vietnamese] team’s defense, in this match,” VFF chairman Le Hung Dung told Thanh Nien in an interview after the match ended on Thursday evening at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.
“I don’t know what happened, and perhaps neither does coach Miura. The defense was to blame for all four goals. Were they really that bad?" Dung said, citing the team's outstanding performance in the first leg of the game in Kuala Lumpur Sunday, where Vietnam beat hosts Malaysia 2-1.
Dung, who is Chairman of Eximbank, said he felt like "being punched" watching the game on My Dinh last night.
"Malaysia was not that great, but we shot ourselves in the foot."
He said while everything is possible in football, such "incomprehensible mistakes and weaknesses" evoked suspicion in the audience and shattered their trust in national football.
“We want relevant authorities to step into this case and clarify the truth so that Vietnam’s football won’t be damaged any further,” he said.
Sad Vietnamese fans witness the national team's disappointing performance in My Dinh Stadium Thursday.
Vietnam’s Coach Toshiya Miura said after the match that he couldn't explain why his players' performance dropped so significantly.
"The fact is, I don't know exactly what happened," he told Thanh Nien.
“The defense made mistakes... but offensive players also had a role in this lost game."
Since Vietnam only needed a draw to reach the final against Thailand, while Malaysia needed to win, "[Vietnamese] players didn't play with utmost determination," coach Miura said.
“As a coach, I am fully responsible for this failure. Seeing [Vietnamese] audience fill up the stadium, I respect their love and think that I must apologize to them. I would like to send my apologies to Vietnamese fans,” he said.
Match-fixing and gambling have been considered a serious threat to Vietnamese football. Even before the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 kicked off, VFF worked with Vietnamese police on a plan to assign a police officer to follow the national team during the tournament.
In August, Tran Manh Dung, a defender on V-league team Ninh Binh, was sentenced to 30 months in jail for match fixing.
In July, the VFF Disciplinary Committee temporarily prohibited six players from taking part in any kind of football-related activity following a national investigation into match fixing.
Malaysia will meet Thailand, who beat them 3-2 during the group stage, in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014.
The first leg is in Bangkok next Wednesday with the return match in Shah Alam on December 20.