Kuching: Valokone Phomphakdy was relieved his side did not have to endure a second period of extra time in three days as Laos secured a 3-2 win over Brunei Darussalam to claim third place at the AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016.
Xaisongkham Champathong scored eight minutes from time after Laos had twice taken the lead, only to see Shahrazen Said equalise twice for Brunei in an end-to-end encounter that came just two days after both sides had lost their semi-finals in penalty shootouts.
But with fatigue affecting both teams as the game wore on, Valokone was delighted his team as able to win the game in regulation time.
“We had no time to rest so we knew our situation was difficult and we know our performance level and that’s why I wasn’t prepared for extra time,” he said. “We had to have some time to rest, but we were able to score the first goal and a second goal. I talked with my assistant and we didn’t want extra time, whether we win or lose.”
Laos started the game strongly and took the lead after just five minutes through Keoviengpheth Lithideth only for Shahrazen to level in the 24th minute, but Laos took the lead again eight minutes into the second half thanks to Sitthideth Khanthavong’s header.
Shahrazen levelled again two minutes later and the game looked to be heading for extra-time before Xaisongkham bundled his way past the Brunei defence before scoring via the inside of the post.
“This win is very important for our team because we came here and we have changed things and we went with a new plan for our players,” said Valakone. “We had the opportunity to use some young players today and I saw many things we have to develop. The young players that I used can play, not perfectly, but they can play with the senior players.
“I think Brunei were in the same situation as us because they played a hard game the other day also. Both teams are at the same level but we had one advantage: we have harmony and spirit. Brunei had better energy than us but maybe that’s why we could win today.”
Brunei coach Kwon Oh-son was left disappointed after a second defeat in three days but felt his team had gained valuable experience as a result of their involvement in the 2016 AFC Solidarity Cup.
“The players fought really well and they were mentally and physically well prepared and even though we went behind we kept fighting, but in the end we couldn’t score a third goal,” said Kwon.
“Despite only having one-and-a-half day’s rest the players tried to recover as fast as possible, however during this match the players fought well and tried to come back into the game because we were losing. It was an excellent performance from my players and also from Laos.
“Playing in this competition is very important, it gives us a lot of international experience – not just us but the other countries too – and we have to thank the AFC for this. We have learned that we have to prepare well to be successful.”