Indonesia hold Vietnam as Group B in the balance

A gutsy display by ten-man Indonesia saw them hold Vietnam to a 0-0 draw in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Tuesday to leave things in Group B firmly in the balance.

The result, coupled with Thailand’s 2-0 triumph over Philippines earlier in the day, means only three points separate the top three with one game remaining.

Vietnam and Thailand are currently on course for the semi-finals but they face off on Thursday, meaning the third-placed Indonesians are perfectly positioned should they claim maximum points against bottom side Cambodia.

Still, Vietnam will feel they spurned an excellent chance to seal their place in the last four, especially considering they dominated proceedings at the MP Selayang Stadium on Tuesday and even played against ten men for the final half hour.

Having scored 12 goals in their previous three games, the Vietnamese attack was expected to put their opponents under pressure and they did just that.

Ho Tuan Tai issued the first warning shot when he fired just past the post after 15 minutes before a 20-yard drive by Nguyen Phong Hong Duy in the 27th minute called Satria Tama into action.

Satria made another smart save on the stroke of halftime to keep the scores level, clawing away a looping header from Vu Van Thanh that looked destined to creep in under the post.

Indonesia were offering plenty of resistance but they were dealt a blow three minutes after the hour mark; Hanif Sjahbandi receiving a second yellow after swinging out an arm at Tuan Tai.

Vietnam then thought they had finally found the breakthrough in the 72nd minute when Nguyen Cong Phuong was released inside the area.

But Tuan Tai, who had been in an offside position, charged in front of his team-mate and, while he proceeded to fire home, the strike was correctly ruled out.

The Vietnamese had one last opportunity and looked destined to score in injury-time when Nguyen Van Toan slipped a pass through to Tuan Tai.

The Song Lam Nghe An forward had plenty of time and space but Kurniawan Ajie, who had replaced the injured Satria, produced a stunning fingertip save to push the shot onto the post, salvaging a share of the spoils for Indonesia in the process.

Earlier in the day, first-half strikes from Montree Promsawat and Sittichok Kannoo handed Thailand a 2-0 victory over Philippines to maintain the defending champions’ unbeaten record so far.

Finally, Group B’s final tie on Tuesday saw Timor-Leste pick up their first points of the campaign as they beat Cambodia 1-0.