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Vietnam coach plays down shock win

9 July 2007 06:14

HANOI (AFP) - Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl played down soaring expectations after their stunning Asian Cup win over United Arab Emirates, insisting the co-hosts were lucky and urging fans to brace for disappointment.

Vietnam, playing their first Asian Cup in 47 years, shocked the Gulf Cup champions 2-0 in front of a raucous crowd here on Sunday to take an early lead in Group B.

"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," warned the 57-year-old Austrian, in his third stint as Vietnam coach since 1998.

"We need a little luck to win close matches and we got a little luck, sometimes you need a bit of luck," he said.

Bunched in a competitive group including defending champions Japan and Asian Games winners Qatar, Vietnam had looked set for failure.

But Riedl had warned his players were capable of an upset after an encouraging recent run including friendly wins over Jamaica and Bahrain.

Vietnam, half of whom were under-23 players, shrugged off a shaky start to down the Gulf visitors with second-half goals from defender Huynh Quang Thanh and striker Le Cong Vinh, the domestic player of the year.

The UAE, upbeat from their first Gulf Cup win last January under French coach Bruno Metsu, missed plentiful scoring chances with striker Ismaeli Matar, the Gulf Cup's most valuable player, failing to produce from free-kicks.

"It was an exciting match in which we scored twice when many people were expecting it to be a very hard job for Vietnam," said Riedl, whose coaching career has taken him to Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt, among others.

Metsu, who led Senegal to the 2002 World Cup quarter-finals, said UAE still had a chance to qualify for the second round, recalling their Gulf Cup triumph after losing their first match against Oman.

"We missed many opportunities to open the score," he said. "It was difficult because we needed to play with the fans, with the pressure."

"We will try to win the next game for sure. You know, in football, everything is possible when you believe," said the 53-year-old Muslim convert.

Vietnam will play Qatar on Thursday and the UAE face Japan on Friday.

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Info

2 - 0

UAE

D D D W L
Competition
Asian Cup
Date
8 July 2007
Kick-off
14:35
Half-time
0 - 0
Full-time
2 - 0

Goals

1 - 0
2 - 0

Lineups

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