Vietnam took the lead as early as the first minute, only to see Thailand fight back to restore parity in the 34th minute. The young Golden Star Warriors went ahead again in the 73rd minute, but were denied a winning start when Thailand equalised with a stoppage time goal to salvage a point.
Phan Tuan Tai handed Vietnam a dream start as he opened the scoring just 20 seconds in. He intercepted Jonathan Khemdee’s pass and then placed a shot from over 20 yards out with the ball deflecting off Khemdee’s shoulder and over an outstretched Kiadtiphon Udom.
Phan Tuan Tai celebrates with teammates after scoring the opening goal for Vietnam. (Photo: AFC)
Thailand closed in on an equaliser in the eighth minute when Suphanat Mueanta and Chatmongkol Rueangthanarot threatened with an exchange of passes, but defender Nham Manh Dung made a timely intervention to foil Suphanat’s close-range effort.
Vietnam dropped the advantage in the 34th minute when substitute Benjamin Davis equalised with his powerful long-range strike deflecting off goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan and settling in the back of the net.
Van Toan was injured while trying to save the Davis attempt and was replaced by Quan Van Chuan shortly later.
Inspired by the equaliser, Thailand intensified their attacks in the closing minutes of the opening half with Achitpol Keereerom and Ekanit Panya taking shots from distance, but both teams went level into the break.
After halftime, goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan made several brilliant saves before Nguyen Van Tung restored Vietnam’s advantage in the 73rd minute. Phan Tuan Tai provided a lob to the edge of the box, with substitute Van Tung’s superb volley sailing into the bottom left corner of the net.
As it would seem to be a 2-1 victory for Gong Oh-kyun’s side, Suphanat headed home Korawich Tasa’s cross in the second minute of added time to salvage a draw for Thailand.
Thailand will play Malaysia on Sunday, with Vietnam facing defending champions Republic of Korea Republic in the day’s earlier match.