HANOI – Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl has called for calm after the cohost’s shock 2-0 victory over United Arab Emirates in their Asian Cup finals Group B opener at a rocking My Dinh Stadium on Sunday evening.
Second-half goals from Huynh Quang Thanh and Le Cong Vinh against the Gulf Cup champions set off wild celebrations around Hanoi and Riedl now has a job on his hands cooling expectations of a stunning advance to the knockout stages in the Vietnamese’s first finals appearance in 47 years.
“We were the outsiders at the start, but there are still two games to go and you never know what can happen. There may still be disappointment,” said Riedl.
“We need a little luck to win close matches and we got a little luck, sometimes you need a bit of luck,” he added.
Riedl’s Vietnam came into the tournament on a high after recent friendly victories against Jamaica and Bahrain and the Austrian coach had backed his young side to spring a few surprises.
“We prepared well, we were ready, but so were the UAE after their Gulf Cup victory,” he said. “It was an exciting match in which we scored twice when many people were expecting it to be a very hard job for Vietnam.”
The victory thrilled the boisterous fans packed into the national stadium and wild celebrations carried on into the night around Hanoi. Vietnam next plays Qatar on Thursday and the UAE faces Japan on Friday.
On Monday evening, Japan was to play Qatar in their opening group match.
French coach Bruno Metsu, who led the UAE to its first Gulf Cup win last January and Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarterfinals, said his team still had a shot at a second-round spot, pointing to the team’s Gulf Cup victory when his men lost their opener to Oman.
“In the Gulf Cup we lost the first game, so we still have a chance to come back,” said the shaggy-haired coach. “We had many young players playing their first game in the Asian Cup. We will try and win the next one, anything is possible when you believe in it.
“I was not surprised how well Vietnam played because they played two friendly games and scored eight goals and we knew that before the game,” he added. “Today we missed several chances to score and also Vietnam had passionate fans behind them.
“After the first goal, you have to come back quickly. It is vital to come back quickly so you can get a draw or a win. At one-nothing anything is possible, in the last five or 10 minutes you can come back, but we didn’t manage that today.”