Unstoppable Vietnam brush aside Cambodia to reach SEA Games 2019 final

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Vietnam enhanced their gold-medal credentials at SEA Games 2019 on Saturday after cruising to a 4-0 semi-final win over Cambodia at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

The tournament favourites broke the deadlock in the 20th minute when they hit on the counter; Ha Duc Chinh breaking down the right and – despite not having much to aim for – managed to float a cross right onto the head of Nguyen Tien Linh, who towered over his opponent to steer the ball into the far corner.

Six minutes later, the Vietnamese doubled their advantage as Duc Chinh again proved an unstoppable force, as he latched onto a hopeful long ball forward and just had too much strength and speed for Yue Safy as he broke through and poked a shot past the onrushing Keo Soksela.

Right on the stroke of halftime, the contest was effectively over when Cambodia failed to fully clear their lines and the ball leaked out to the wing, where Truong Van Thai Quy clipped an excellent ball to the near post for Duc Chinh to convert with a stooping header.

At this stage, Vietnam never looked in danger of relinquishing their place in Monday’s final but – to their credit – they refused to take their foot off the pedal in the second half.

And, just for good measure, they added a fourth in the 68th minute when Thai Quy whipped a low corner to the near post and Duc Chinh casually stuck out a foot to divert it into the back of the net to complete his hat-trick, although it might ultimately be credited as a Reung Bunheing own-goal.

Right at the death, Cambodia did have a golden opportunity to grab a consolation when they were awarded a penalty in the fourth minute of injury-time, after In Sodavid’s cross was handled inside the area by Do Thanh Thinh.

But Keo Sokpheng was unable to capitalise as Vietnam goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan made a smart save low to his right to ensure his side marched on from the semi-finals with a dominant, blemish-free performance.

With the win, Park Hang-seo’s charges remain in with a chance of claiming their first SEA Games gold since the inaugural Southeast Asian Peninsular Games – which they won as South Vietnam – as they meet two-time champions Indonesia in the final.

VIETNAM: Nguyen Van Toan, Nguyen Trong Hoang, Huynh Tan Sinh, Nguyen Thanh Chung, Do Thanh Thinh, Doan Van Hau, Nguyen Duc Chien, Nguyen Hoang Duc (Trieu Viet Hung 46’), Do Hung Dung (Bui Tien Dung 58’), Ha Duc Chinh, Nguyen Tien Linh (Truong Van Thai Quy 45’).

CAMBODIA: Keo Soksela, Ken Chansopheak, Ouk Sovann, Yue Safy, Cheng Meng, Orn Chanpolin, Yeu Muslim (In Sodavid 90+2′), Keo Sokpheng, Sin Kakada (Sath Rosib 70’), Mao Piseth (Chea Vesly 79’), Reung Bunheing.