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Park Hang-seo ready to win Mitsubishi Cup in second leg

Posted January. 16, 2023 07:40,   

Updated January. 16, 2023 07:40


Vietnam national soccer team coach Park Hang-seo is preparing the team to make it in the Mitsubishi Cup, after which he will say goodbye to the country.

Vietnam is scheduled to play against Thailand in the second leg of the final round at 9:30 p.m. on Monday evening at Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, Thailand. Given a 2-2 draw in Hanoi on Friday, it has to either win the second match or score at least three goals and tie. If the game ends up in a 2-2 draw situation again, the two countries have to play overtime. If it does not determine the winner yet, they must play shoot-out. With the away goals rule in place, Thailand can win the championship even if it ties by zero to zero or one to one because it already gained two goals in the first leg.

The Mitsubishi Cup, dubbed “The World Cup of Southeast Asia,” will be the last footprint to be left by Park, who has led Vietnam for the past five years. He, determined, said, “We are aware that Thailand has gained the upper hand, but we have no reason to give up. If we win the game, we will become the winner.”

Under Park's leadership, Vietnam has grown considerably from an underdog Southeast Asian soccer team to a stronger squad in the region. In the following year after he took the helm in October 2017, he brought Vietnam to victory for the first time in 10 years, gaining nationwide respect and fame as one of the most loved national heroes. Also, he became the first-ever coach to send the country to the final stage of the Asian qualifiers prior to the 2022 Qatar World Cup. In the last home game of Park’s career in Vietnam on Friday, Vietnamese fans put up a large-sized placard saying, “Thank you, Park.”

Thailand is the defending champion and the most successful winner in the AFF Championship (six times). It defeated Vietnam by two to zero in the semi-final round last January. Afterwards, Vietnam took revenge by winning the 2022 SEA Games by one to zero last May. The record of Vietnam led by Park against Thailand is one win, one loss, and four ties.

Bae-Jung Kim wanted@donga.com