Cambodia’s preparations for their AFC Cup qualification date with Vietnam next week hit a bump as they fell to a 3-1 defeat to Indonesia in their final warm-up match on Wednesday evening.
While a 3-1 defeat was tough to swallow ahead of next week’s all-important tie against Vietnam, Cambodia coach Leonardo Vitorino said he was confident his young side could upset the odds to qualify for the AFC Cup finals proper – and demanded his players heed his advice.
“Of course no one likes to lose. But it is a learning process. We will analyse our game. I think Indonesia played well in possession,” said Vitorino in a press conference after the game.
The Brazilian tactician added he was disappointed with his players’ inability to trouble the hosts’ defence and repeated his past criticism of a lack of discipline and focus.
“The players lost focus and lost their strength. This is probably because of the quality of football in Indonesia which far exceeds Cambodia’s C-League,” said the former Lanexang United supremo.
Despite the one-sided nature of the first half in which they went two goals down, Cambodia put up more of a fight in the second period with Chan Vathanaka sparing Cambodian blushes with a consolation goal.
The pressure is on for the Angkor Warriors, who travel to Vietnam for their October 10 meeting with their neighbours and arch-rivals.
A late second-half winner saw Vietnam defeat Cambodia 2-1 in their meeting last month and Vitorino will be desperate to score a win. Cambodia have two defeats – to Jordan and Vietnam – and a solitary win over Afghanistan to their credit in group C of the 2019 AFC Cup qualifiers.
Cambodia’s Under-19s were also in action in Wednesday’s earlier kick-off and like the seniors were also unable to register a win as they went down to a 2-0 defeat to their Indonesian counterparts.