AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Vietnam end Philippines’ hopes of miracle

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Vietnam are through to the final of AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 after beating Philippines 2-1 on Thursday to seal a 4-2 aggregate victory in the semi-finals.

With a 2-1 lead from last Sunday’s first leg in Bacolod, Vietnam entered the return encounter at the My Dinh National Stadium firmly in the driving seat especially being in possession of two away goals.

Thus, it perhaps should not have been that surprising that the hosts were more than happy to sit back and let their opponents chase the games, which – in truth – made for a quite dour affair for much of the match.

But, in the 83rd minute, Vietnam finally broke the deadlock when Phan Van Duc did well to break free down the left and advance on goal before laying a ball across the face of goal to leave Nguyen Quang Hai with a simple tap-in.

Just four minutes later, they struck again to effectively kill the contest as Nguyen Cong Phuong’s attempted pass was intercepted by Adam Tull but fell kindly back into his path, paving the way for him to lash a ferocious shot past Patrick Deyto at the near post.

Nguyen Trong Hoang doing battle with Kevin Ingreso.

To their credit, the Azkals refused to give in and pulled one back a minute from time when a corner caused pinball inside the area and James Younghusband reacted quickest to stab home from close range.

Nonetheless, it proved to be a mere consolation as there was be no repeat of the “Miracle of Hanoi” that took place for Philippines in 2010, when they claimed a monumental win at the same venue to en route to reaching the knockout round of the tournament for the first time ever.

Instead, it is now Vietnam who will face Malaysia in the final of AFF Suzuki Cup 2018, with the first leg to take place on December 11 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

VIETNAM: Dang Van Lam, Do Duy Manh, Tran Dinh Trong, Que Ngoc Hai, Nguyen Trong Hoang, Pham Duc Huy (Nguyen Cong Phuong 84′), Luong Xuan Truong (Nguyen Huy Hung 62’), Doan Van Hau, Nguyen Quang Hai, Phan Van Duc, Nguyen Anh Duc (Nguyen Tien Linh 75’).

PHILIPPINES: Patrick Deyto, Amani Aguinaldo, Alvaro Silva, Carli de Murga (James Younghusband 69’), Martin Steuble, Adam Tull, Kevin Ingreso, Iain Ramsay, Patrick Reichelt, Stephan Schrock, Phil Younghusband.