The final day of the 2019 AFF U-22 Championship started on an exciting note, with Vietnam beating Cambodia by a late goal. The Golden Dragons took the lead in the 86th minute, which they then held on for the remaining time to seal the third spot in the competition. Here’s our report on the proceedings.
Usually, the third-place match in any competition means little. Teams who have participated in the same previously tend to send their second or even third sides to gain some minutes. However, that wasn’t the case when Vietnam played Cambodia, with both setting up strongly.
Both Vietnam and Cambodia finished as group winners in their respective groups. However, narrow defeats sent the pair crashing out of the competition in the semifinal of the AFF U-22 Championship, and into the third-place playoff.
Hosts Cambodia started the stronger of the two, looking confident when they passed the ball around. However, despite that, they failed to break down a strong Vietnam defence and were only allowed shots from distance.
Meanwhile, Vietnam didn’t fare much better in the attacking department themselves, with the opposition defence dealing with the front three pretty easily.
As a result, both sides went into the break level on score after a closely-contested half.
The second half was similar to the first in terms of the lack of clear cut chances created. Much of the game was played in the middle of the park, as both sides looked to assert their dominance over the other.
Vietnam finally broke the deadlock in the 86th minute courtesy of Xuan Tu Le. The 19-year-old forward ran on to a cross before flicking his header in the far corner.
Cambodia went on the attack almost immediately after conceding the goal. They nearly equalized as well in stoppage time only for Vietnam goalkeeper Y Eli Nie to make a stunning reflex save. That turned out to be the final attacking move of the match, with the Golden Dragons ultimately sealing the win.