Vietnam are through to the final of King’s Cup 2019 after Nguyen Anh Duc netted in the 94th minute to hand them a 1-0 win over Thailand in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
In a keenly-contested encounter at the Chang Arena that threatened to boil over on a number of occasions, it was the hosts who largely created the better chances.
Supachai Jaided was first to threaten in the 17th minute when he did brilliantly to take a searching pass from Theerathon Bunmathan into his stride on his chest and then fire a shot away while stumbling, only to see it come back off the post.
Thitipan Puangchan was the next to come close four minutes after the half-hour mark, pressuring Nguyen Trong Hoang on the edge of the Vietnam area into losing possession and unleashing a fierce snapshot on the half-volley that flashed just wide.
Thailand then looked to have broken the deadlock in the 70th minute when Theerathon’s freekick from the right sailed past a sea of players and went straight into the back of the net, only for the referee to call play back and disallow the goal for an off-the-ball infringement from one of his team-mates.
But, just when it looked like it would take penalties to decide the contest, Vietnam had other ideas in the fourth and final minute of injury-time.
Having been left unmarked at the back post, Anh Duc met Luong Xuan Truong’s corner with a bullet header but – although it was straight at Thailand goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan – he somehow parried it straight up and was then unable to prevent the ball from looping over him and into the back of the net.
With the win, Vietnam will now meet Curacao in Saturday’s final while the Thais have to settle for a third-place playoff against India.
THAILAND: Kawin Thamsatchanan, Pansa Hemviboon, Suphan Thongsong, Adisorn Promrak, Tanaboon Kesarat, Tristan Do, Thitipan Puangchan, Sarach Yooyen (Sumanya Purisay 46’), Theerathon Bunmathan, Supachok Sarachat, Supachai Jaided (Suphanat Mueanta 85’).
VIETNAM: Dang Van Lam, Nguyen Trong Hoang, Do Duy Manh, Que Ngoc Hai, Bui Tien Dung (Nguyen Phong Hong Duy 72’), Doan Van Hau, Nguyen Tuan Anh, Nguyen Quang Hai, Do Hung Dung, Nguyen Van Toan (Nguyen Cong Phuong 65’), Nguyen Anh Duc.
Photo credit: Football Association of Thailand