Tardy refuses to blame U-21s after losing on penalties
U-21 coach Tardy rues late equaliser, but refuses to blame his boys
NATIONS CUP (U-21) 3RD/4TH PLACING
(Huynh Tan Sinh 56, Ha Duc Chinh 90)
(Adam Swandi 42, Hazim Faiz 51)
- Vietnam win 5-4 on penalties
REPORTING FROM MALACCA
They were four minutes from victory, but the Singapore Under-21 side conceded a last-gasp equaliser before losing 5-4 on penalties to Vietnam in the third/fourth placing match of the Nations Cup at the Hang Jebat Stadium yesterday.
Richard Tardy's boys finished last in the four-team tourney.
Goals from Adam Swandi and Hazim Faiz gave the U-21 side a commanding lead, but the Vietnamese fought back through Huynh Tan Sinh (56th minute) and Ha Duc Chinh (90th minute) to send the match into a penalty shoot-out.
Vietnam completed the comeback in the shoot-out when substitute Duong Van Hao buried the decisive penalty to give his side a 5-4 victory, after Shahrin Saberin's effort was saved in sudden death.
Tardy, who made two changes to the team that lost 3-0 to Malaysia two days ago, felt the late equaliser knocked the wind out of his boys.
"We are very disappointed because we felt that we could win, but it is difficult for the team that conceded a last-minute goal to keep the result," he said.
The Frenchman, though, refused to blame his charges as he thought a draw was the "logical" result after they went 2-0 up.
"We were not good technically as we were giving away too many easy balls and we got tired from running to get it back," he noted.
"Perhaps, we made a mistake on a free-kick we had near the end of the match; it's good to keep the ball at the corner rather than shoot from it."
Vietnam started the brighter of the two teams, but it was their opponents who grabbed the first goal three minutes before half-time.
A corner by Muhaimin Suhaimi was not fully cleared and the winger received the ball again before finding Adam, who met his cross with a glancing header.
Six minutes after the restart, Singapore went 2-0 up. Vietnamese defender Ho Tan Tai brought down Joshua Bernard Pereira in the box and the referee awarded a penalty.
Striker Hazim stepped up and duly sent Vietnam custodian Do Sy Huy the wrong way.
But the joy was short-lived as Vietnam pulled one back via a penalty of their own five minutes later.
Adam turned from hero to zero when he felled Ho, with Huynh scoring to keep Vietnam in the game.
The match sprang into life as Vietnam pressed forward in search of an equaliser. Singapore had their fair share of chances, too.
Joshua tested Do with a header, before Vietnam defender Nguyen Tien Linh cut in from the left and forced Singapore goalkeeper Hairul Syirhan into a sprawling save.
Vietnam were not prepared to go down without a fight and their efforts paid off when Ho crossed invitingly for Ha to slot home near the end.
It was a lapse of concentration at the back that cost Singapore dearly, prompting centre back Shahrin to show his frustration on the pitch as the referee blew for penalties.
Vietnam coach Hoang Anh Tuan was naturally pleased with the result.
"Near the end, you could see that Singapore's fitness was going down, and they also had some injuries," he said.
"But our team are very strong, so I pushed the players to apply more pressure."
Tardy said that his team need "a lot of work" before they return to Malaysia for the South-east Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur next year.
"I must propose to the Football Association of Singapore to organise training camps and friendly games, because the level will be very high," he said.
"We see that Thailand and Malaysia are playing in the (Nations Cup) final, so we need more time to prepare the team and arrive at a certain level."
- VIETNAM: Do Sy Huy, Ho Tan Tai, Nguyen Trong Dai, Huynh Tan Sinh, Doan Van Hau, Truong Van Thai Quy (Nguyen Quang Hai 53), Bui Tien Dung, Trieu Viet Hung (Nguyen Duc Hoang Minh 58), Luong Hoang Nam, Nguyen Tien Linh (Duong Van Hao 72), Ha Duc Chinh
- SINGAPORE: Hairul Syirhan, Rusyaidi Salime, Amirul Adli, Shahrin Saberin, Dhukilan Jeevamani, Muhaimin Suhaimi (Amiruldin Asraf 74), Joshua Pereira, Ammirul Emmran, Adam Swandi, Amir Zalani (Hami Syahin 61), Hazim Faiz (Gareth Low 90).