Thailand edge Vietnam in shootout to finish third
Bangkok: Thailand recovered from the disappointment of a semi-final defeat to claim third place at the AFC Women’s Futsal Championship 2018 with a 3-2 penalty shootout victory over Vietnam after a scoreless draw on Saturday.
Thailand goalkeeper Pannipa Kamolrat was the eventual hero, saving Nguyen Thi Hue’s effort in the shootout, before Hataichanok Tappakun sealed victory with the decisive spot kick.
The result means Thailand retains the top three finishing position they achieved in the 2015 edition of the tournament in Malaysia.
In an opening period of few clear chances, Thailand largely controlled possession, but it took until the eighth minute for golden boot hopeful Sasicha Phothiwong to test goalkeeper Ngo Nguyen Thuy Linh.
Jenjira Bubpha dispossessed Bui Thi Trang to force the shot-stopper into another save four minutes later, but the hosts came the closest to breaking the first half deadlock when Bien Thi Hang intervened to clear the ball with Sasicha seemingly destined to steer the ball into the gaping net.
After a scoreless opening period, the breakthrough nearly came just 11 seconds after half-time, but Jenjira missed after being put through on goal by Sasicha.
Vietnam responded by creating a wonderful chance for Trinh Nguyen Thanh Hang five minutes later only for Pannipa to produce an important one-on-one save before her teammates arrive to help scramble the ball clear.
The hosts began to produce regular chances, and when Pacharaporn Srimuan and Jenjira both squandered 28th minute opportunities it appeared a matter of when, and not if Thailand would score.
Hataichanok Tappakun forced another save from Ngo with eight minutes remaining, but Vietnam regained a measure of control, and Le Thi Thuy Linh’s thunderous 35th minute effort, while flying wide, served a reminder of their counter-attacking threat.
Thailand’s Pacharaporn was heavily involved in the action with two minutes remaining. She was booked for hauling down Bien, then nearly scored when Vietnam turned the ball over from the resulting set piece, with another Ngo save keeping her out.
Another Vietnamese counter-attack nearly decided the match with just over a minute to go, but Trinh Nguyen Thanh Hang couldn’t reach the ball after she rounded Pannipa.
It was Pannipa who again stepped up to become the match winner in the penalty shootout, producing an excellent save to block Vietnam’s first penalty before Darika, Jenjira and Hataichanok all powered home their spot kicks to secure a parting gift to the home fans.
Udom Taveesuk:Thailand Head Coach
“Today you can see our players are very tired and their bodies could not reach the same level after our very hard game against Japan and the games before. Last night we asked for an extra physio and more staff to help the players recover. Thank you to the players for producing that effort despite how tired they were and being able to get third place, but our target was to be the champions, so I’d like to say sorry to our fans. Over the whole tournament, I can’t say I’m happy about the result. After success at the SEA Games and Asian Indoor Games wins last year, I targeted the best for Thailand. We will learn from this and train to make our players better in the future. I must also improve tactically and teach the players to understand more. We can reach our targets if we do this. We will start a women’s futsal league in July, so hopefully that will help us develop and find more talent.”
Truong Quoc Tran: Vietnam Head Coach
“We knew that to play against the host nation would be very difficult but we showed a perfect game and I sympathise with our players even though we lost. Before this competition our target was for our players to get experience and have a good tournament. I will keep this squad for future tournaments. Our second set are all our young players and they have done really well here. Our goalkeeper, Ngo Nguyen Thuy Linh, has also done really well and this is her first time playing in such a tournament.”