AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: 5 things we learned from Myanmar 0-0 Vietnam

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

FOX Sports Asia football editor Gabriel Tan takes a closer look at the 0-0 draw between Myanmar and Vietnam in AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 Group A on Tuesday.

It was the top-of-the-table clash between two undefeated sides that promised plenty.

But, with so much hype and plenty at stake, it perhaps was understandable that the Suzuki Cup 2018 Group A clash between Myanmar and Vietnam at the Thuwunna Stadium ended in a 0-0 draw.

Here, FOX Sports Asia looks at the five lessons we learnt from the clash.

1) Should Park Hang-seo persist with Quang Hai in midfield?

It was an experiment that worked wonders with the Under-23 side at the Asian Games and Park Hang-seo has thus far persisted with it at this tournament.

But, is Nguyen Quang Hai really a central midfielder?

After all, the 21-year-old really came to the fore this year with his unstoppable displays as an attacker for both club and country and, even playing alongside Luong Xuan Truong in the heart of midfield, had some of his team’s best opportunities on Tuesday.

Following a game where Vietnam’s three Nguyens in attack – Anh Duc, Cong Phuong and Van Quyet – all failed to fire, the temptation must be there for Park to restore Quang Hai to his front trio.

2) Kyaw Zin Htet deserves to be Myanmar’s No. 1

Since Thiha Sithu fell out of favour at international level, there has been a vacancy in the Myanmar goal to be filled.

Although Sann Sat Naing and Phone Thit Sar Min – both 21 – loom as long-term options, Myanmar coach Antoine Hey has put his faith in the more-experienced Kyaw Zin Htet for now and has not been let down.

The Yangon United custodian singlehandedly kept Vietnam at bay with a string of fine saves, including a smart stop down low to keep out a ferocious drive from Quang Hai in the first half, as well as denying Do Hung Dung and Cong Phuong in quick succession after halftime.

3) Vietnam can rival Thailand for strength in depth

It is apparent how far ahead Thailand are from the rest of the region considering how dominant they have been despite effectively fielding a ‘B’ team at the tournament, and still possessing a host of quality players waiting to be called upon from the bench.

Nonetheless, if there is one team that could match them for strength in depth at this tournament, it is Vietnam.

Apart from his three central defenders and Quang Hai and Xuan Truong in central midfield, Park has not been afraid to rotate his squad.

More impressively, young stars like the two Bui Tien Dungs, goalkeeper and centre-back, Ha Duc Chinh and Nguyen Tien Linh have yet to be given a proper opportunity to make their mark.

4) Aung Thu is slowly finding his feet

Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Aung Thu was left on the bench in Myanmar’s opening match, while he was then deployed as the No. 10 in their second game.

However, in what was expected to be their toughest game in Group A, the Police Tero star was restored as the focal point in attack and did not disappoint.

He may not have found the back of the net in the end but, against quality defenders, Aung Thu was a constant threat with his speed and skill and should only get better as the tournament wears on, provided his side get the job done and reach the semi-finals.

5) Vietnam will be the happier team with the draw

Given how they entered the match as favourites, some would say that Vietnam would have been disappointed with Tuesday’s 0-0 draw.

Still, the point favours them more as they now host already-eliminated Cambodia on the final match day, while Myanmar need to get a result against a Malaysia side also vying for a top-two finish.

The only way Vietnam can be eliminated is if Myanmar and Malaysia play out a draw, while they lose to the Cambodians by more than four goals, which will almost certainly not happen.