HCM CITY — Despite only getting a draw against Sydney FC in the AFC Champions League second group match, Hoàng Anh Gia Lai manager Kiatisuk Senamuang was happy with the performance, singling out Vũ Văn Thanh in particular.
During the match, the 26-year-old right wing-back was solid in defence and sharp in attack, scoring an absolute screamer in the 26th minute.
It was probably Thanh’s finest performance since an injury crushed his form, leading to criticism from several quarters.
“Thanh has made great progress, playing very well against high-quality opponents,” Kiatisuk said.
“I always remind Thanh and other players that in such big games, the number of fans is enormous. So, they should play as well as possible as it is their opportunity to shine.”
Thanh put his good performance down to the instructions of the manager.
“Every match, coach Kiatisuk gives me a very specific task. That’s why this game I had many shots, and one of them turned out to be a goal,” said the wing-back.
“The whole team played really well, we had good preparation and recovery, which was behind the performance.”
Despite meeting the board’s expectation, getting a draw, Kiatisuk still wanted more as his team played better and only dropped points due to a controversial goal, though the 48-year-old manager accepted the decision.
“We respect the referee’s decision. Next match, HAGL will try to change the result,” said the Thai.
“Before the match, our goal was one point. But after taking the lead, the players wanted all three. Unfortunately, we couldn’t win.
“This was a tough match. Sydney FC have many good players with strong bodies, and good fitness and technique. They did well to disturb our game plan.
“As for the problem of the attack not being able to score in the V.League and these two matches, we do not put pressure on the attacking players. I want every player in every position to be able to score.”
With one point against Sydney FC, HAGL are still bottom of Group H.
Kiatisuk’s men will have two days of preparation before entering their third match, against Korean champions Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors on April 22. — VNS