HANOI: While netizens are fuming over a controversial penalty, national coach Kim Pan Gon said Vietnam deserved to win the AFF Cup football match against Malaysia yesterday in Hanoi.
Vietnam beat Malaysia 3-0 in a Group B match which saw Japanese referee Sato Ryuji sent off Azam Azmi in the 62nd minute after he was involved in a tussle with Vietnam's Doan Van Hau.
South Korean Pan Gon said: "Congratulations to Vietnam. They deserved to win and they were very solid.
"(My) apology to the Malaysia public because the team cannot make you proud. They tried their best, they followed coaching instructions.
"First half, we did one mistake with the corner kick but the rest was all well controlled.
"There was a chance to win but still I don't know what happened with that incident (Azam's red card). I have to go back and see it. That action made it very difficult for us.
"I have no complaints about the players. We will go back and correct some things to make sure we do well against Singapore."
"We have to learn from this where we had a big advantage with the opponent one man less," said Pan Gon in reference to Malaysia having the advantage of playing with a man extra for half an hour after Vietnam's Nguyen Van Toan was sent off in the 33rd minute.
Meanwhile national player Stuart Wilkins also congratulated Vietnam. "They are one of the best teams in the tournament, so it was never going to be easy.
"But I'm proud of all of my teammates for working as hard as possible following the coach's game plan.
"Sometimes football comes down to a game in both boxes. Vietnam took the chances they had and unfortunately we couldn't convert ours."