Singapore's Avramovic pleased despite 0-0 draw

January 13, 2007

SINGAPORE, January 13 (Asean Football Championship) – Singapore coach Radojko Avramovic said that he was not satisfied with his team's goalless draw against Vietnam in their Asean Football Championship opener on Saturday but admitted that the result was a fair reflection of the game.

In a game of much endeavour, both sides ultimately cancelled each other to leave them trailing behind Indonesia, who lead Group B after claiming a 3-1 victory against Laos earlier in the day.

'I think that the Vietnam coach is not happy and I am not happy with the result because at the end, you must try to win games,' said Avramovic.

'Vietnam are a tough team to beat and I think that both sides tried hard and we had a good quality game. At the end of the day, we didn't take our chances that could have won us the game but I think that ultimately, it was a fair result.

'However, we must try to win every game because this is a tough group and every point is crucial if you want to qualify for the semi-finals.'

Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl agreed with his opposite number's assessment.

'The result was correct as both teams played an equal game,' said the Austrian.

'In the opening minutes of the game, Singapore gave us some problems but at other times, we were equal and I think that we even had more ball possession than Singapore

'But they have a very strong defence. When we attacked their whole team was defending well together and they caused us a lot of problems as we couldn't create goal-scoring chances. We would get to about 20 to 30 metres from goal and then we would be stopped.

'However, we also did well defensively because they operate with a lot of high balls and dangerous passes, but today we neutralised that and they weren't really successful with that.

'Ultimately, it is a good result for us because we have held the defending champions to a draw on their home ground.'

The closest thing to a goal was Phan Thanh Binh's 75th minute effort that was disallowed for a foul by the striker on Aide Iskandar. It proved to be the main point of contention between the two coaches afterwards.

'From where I was sitting 90 metres away, I could not see the incident clearly but my head of delegation saw the television replay and said that there was no foul and that it was a clear goal,' said Riedl.

Avramovic though was adamant that Thanh Binh's effort should not have stood due to persistent fouling by the Vietnamese striker.

'I think that Vietnam players have a very good technique of just pushing their opponents a little bit or pulling them back a little bit and the referee had been tolerating that for too long,' the Serb said.