Vietnam secure ticket to AFF Cup finals

Thursday, 2018-12-06 22:40:03
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Vietnam players celebrate the opening goal by Quang Hai (No. 19). (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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NDO – Vietnam beat the Philippines 2-1 in the second leg of the ASEAN Federation Football (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2018 semi-finals on December 6 to advance to the finals, thanks to the 4-2 results on aggregate.

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In the return leg took place at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium on Thursday night, two late goals from Nguyen Quang Hai and substitute Nguyen Cong Phuong helped Vietnam take a 2-0 lead in the last minutes of the second half, before James Younghusband scored a consolation goal for the Philippines.

The first half was a tight encounter as Vietnam sat deep to allow the visitors to attack. The Philippines had the lion’s share of ball possession but could not take any chance to break the defensive line of the hosts.

Vietnam took full control of the game after 15 minutes and launched several attacks, with the most dangerous coming in the 28th minute when Doan Van Hau broke down the left, cut back and curled in a neat ball with the outside of his left foot that Quang Hai met with an acrobatic effort that was directed straight at goalkeeper Patrick Deyto.

Van Hau then delivered another just inches away from being finished by Quang Hai, before a superb sliding clearance from Carli de Murga denied Anh Duc an easy tap-in at the back post.

Quang Hai surrounded by the Philippines players. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

After the goalless first half, the Philippines strengthened attacks in the first minutes of the second half with long balls, but they struggled to create goalscoring opportunities against the disciplined defence by Vietnam.

The guests’ manager Sven-Goran Eriksson decided to make a change as he sent James Younghusband in to replace defender de Murga midway through the half, but it was Vietnam who finally broke the deadlock with seven minutes remaining.

As the Philippines increased the game speed, Vietnam took advantaged of rooms behind the visitors’ defenders to score. In the 83rd minute, Van Duc cut into the penalty area from the left, skipped past Amani Aguinaldo and slid the ball to Quang Hai to score the opener.

Just four minutes later, Cong Phuong came off the bench to burst into the box with intent before getting a lucky break off Adam Reed and riffling past Deyto.

Fans create a wildly enthusiastic atmosphere at My Dinh stadium. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

The Philippines pulled one back in the 88th minute when James Younghusband net in a consolation goal from a few yards out following Ramsay’s corner from the right, but it was too little too late as Vietnam wrapped up the match with the convincing 2-1 win.

With this result, coach Pak Hang-seo’s side entered the finals with an aggregate score of 4-2. The team will travel to Kuala Lumpur’s Bukit Jalil Stadium for the first leg of the finals on December 11, before returning to My Dinh Stadium four days later for the return match to decide the overall winners.

Thousands of fans arrived at My Dinh National Stadium to cheer on their home team. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)

Highlights Vietnam 2-1 Philippines (AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Semi-finals 2nd Leg)