Vietnam edge past the Philippines in AFF Cup semifinal first leg

by NDO03 December 2018 Last updated at 11:00 AM

VTV.vn - Vietnam have put one foot in the final match of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup after edging past the Philippines 2-1 in their semifinal first leg at Panaad Stadium in Bacolod on December 2.

Vietnam had the better of the match in the opening minutes and rapidly turned their possession into an opener after 11 minutes, with Van Hau setting up Anh Duc to curl a cunning header over the head of goalkeeper Falkesgaard to find the back of the net.

Inspired by the early goal, Park Hang-seo’s players continued their domination producing a number of threats to the Philippine side, but Van Duc and Quang Hai were unable to convert any of them into a second goal for the guests.

In the latter part of the first half, the Philippines reclaimed ball possession and put up mounting pressure on the Vietnamese field, with centre back Carli de Murga producing a header over the cross bar at 35 minutes.

The host team’s efforts finally paid off with a precious equaliser just seconds before the break. Vietnamese defenders lost concentration as they did not closely block Reichelt, who moved smartly and slotted in a favourable left-wing cross from Phil Younghusband to relieve psychological pressure burdening coach Sven Goran-Eriksson’s side.

However, joy was short-lived for the Philippines as just three minutes after the interval, Van Duc brilliantly broke offside trap to take a delightful through ball from teammate Trong Hoang before producing a subtle finish through goalkeeper Falkesgaard’s legs to restore Vietnam’s advantage.

The Philippines looked to have conceded the third goal in the 53rd minute as Falkesgaard was forced to save a close-range touch by a Philippine defender who unexpectedly drove the ball home while attempting to block a right-wing cross from Vietnam’s Hung Dung.

Five minutes after the hour mark, Park Hang-seo put Duc Chinh onto the field in replacement of Anh Duc to strengthen Vietnam’s offensive strength.

This substitution proved effective as the 21-year-old forward played actively and came close to scoring for the away side one minute before stoppage time as his attempt was stopped by the Philippine goalie in a faceoff.

Favourite striker Cong Phuong, who came off the bench in the last 10 minutes, impressed strongly two minutes into injury time with an exceptional personal showing. He confidently dragged past two Philippine defenders in the box, but shot wide to everyone’s regrets.

Despite failing to score additional goals, the 2-1 victory was enough to gift Park Hang-seo’s side a big advantage ahead of the semifinal return leg at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi in the next four days. Accordingly, the “Yellow Stars” will only need a draw or concede fewer than two goals in case of a loss to book their place in the title match of the 2018 AFF Cup.


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