Park Hang-seo ends Vietnam career with AFF Championship final loss
The Vietnamese national football team finished the AFF Championship as runners-up after losing 1-0 to defending champions Thailand in the second leg of the final on Monday.
The team, led by Korean head coach Park Hang-seo, drew the first leg of the final 2-2 last Friday and needed a victory in the second leg to win the tournament.
The match, however, did not go as Vietnam wanted as Thai midfielder Theerathon Bunmathan scored the sole goal of the game in the 24th minute.
Vietnam tried to equalize and recorded 10 shots during the match, two of which went on target, but could not find that crucial breakthrough, ultimately losing 3-2 on aggregate.
Thailand, on the other hand, was able to defend its title and lifted the AFF Championship trophy for the seventh time.
The Vietnamese side failed to present a trophy to Park who is stepping down after five years in charge, in his last game with the national team.
Park, who was also in charge of the U-23 side, started off leading Vietnam to the final of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship, beating stronger teams like Australia, Iraq and Qatar along the way. A couple of months later he led the senior team to the semifinals of the 2018 Asian Games, then followed that up with the win at the 2018 AFF Championship.
A year later, Vietnam reached the quarterfinals at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and won a gold medal at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games. Nearly all of these feats were either a first for Vietnam, or at least a first since the country was unified.
With Park stepping down, Vietnam will play the 2024 AFF Championship without him at the helm for the first time since 2016.
BY PAIK JI-HWAN AND JIM BULLEY [email@example.com]