Football

Vietnam coach proud of team despite 3-2 loss to Iraq

Vietnam coach Park Hang Seo expressed pride in his players after the South-east Asian champions took the fight to Iraq in their 3-2 defeat on Tuesday.

Vietnam took the lead twice in their Asian Cup Group D match against the former champions, only to fall to a last-minute free-kick by Ali Adnan, but Park insists he has no regrets.

"I'm proud of my players," said the South Korean. "At the end, they were exhausted and lost a bit of concentration but we were a little unlucky too."

It was a heart-breaking loss for Vietnam, who took a shock lead after 24 minutes.

Defender Ali Faez panicked under pressure from Nguyen Cong Phuong and clumsily backheeled the ball past goalkeeper Jalal Hassan Hachim.

Iraq levelled 10 minutes later through striker Mohanad Ali, who profited from a defensive error to rifle home from the edge of the box.

Cong Phuong restored Vietnam's lead three minutes before the break, stabbing in from close range after Nguyen Trong Huang's shot had been parried by Hachim.

But Humam Tareq lashed home a second equaliser following more horrific defending from the Vietnamese on 60 minutes, who by that point looked to be running out of steam.

A foul on the edge of the box in the 90th minute presented Adnan with the chance to take all three points and he did not disappoint, curling a left-foot shot into the top corner.

Iraq coach Srecko Katanec, who was livid with their first-half showing, said: "I knew it would be a tough game. But the most important thing was the three points."

Iraq join Iran on three points after their bitter rivals thrashed Yemen 5-0 on Monday. Vietnam face Iran , while Iraq take on Yemen on Saturday. - AFP

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