Vietnam lost the Asian Football Federation Under-16 Youth Championship 5-3 on penalties to Australia in the final in Phnom Penh Saturday.
The team’s coach, Dinh The Nam, did not blame goalkeeper Huu Tuan for making a mistake in injury time that led to a goal by John Roberts which leveled the scores at 3-3.
“You should have pushed the ball out instead of trying to catch it,” he quietly told the goalkeeper about his response to a free kick.
At the press briefing after the match he said his players were too excited after leading by 3-1 until the 83rd minute when Mark Moric scored the second goal for Australia.
“They ignored my instructions to slow down the match with long passes.”
Vietnam played well against a team that they had defeated 3-0 in a group match. Huynh Sang scored the first goal in the 36th minute, before Viet Cuong made it 2-0 in the 56th minute.
Roberts scored the first goal for Australia from a penalty in the 58th minute, after Ngoc Tien handled the ball.
Khac Khiem scored the third goal for Vietnam in the 77th minute after receiving a long pass from Huu Thang.
“What a shame! Our players are young and were thirsty for more goals after leading 3-1,” Nam said.
“We played better than the group match against Australia and were so close to the title. In penalty shootouts, it is a matter of luck.”
In the third-place playoff match earlier Thailand beat host Cambodia 3-0.
Vietnam have won the AFF U-16 title twice in 2006 and 2010.
Vietnam will again play Australia at the AFC U-16 Championship in India in September. The other teams in their group are Japan and Kyrgyzstan.