AFF Suzuki Cup Group A Review: Vietnam finishes on top, Indonesia exit on a high
A 3-1 win for Vietnam against Philippines on Thursday evening at the My Dinh National Stadium allowed the hosts to pip Philippines to the top spot in Group A.
Despite needing only a draw to secure a spot in the final four, Vietnam started the game with a statement of intent.
They broke the deadlock just nine minutes in, with Azkals goalkeeper Patrick Deyto allowing Ngo Hoang Thinh’s effort from 30 yards out to slip past him into the goal.
Vietnam then extended their lead in the 50th minute through Vu Minh Tuan’s superb effort, before Pham Thanh Luong’s first AFF Suzuki Cup goal since 2008 eight minutes later put the game beyond any doubt.
Philippines pulled one back just less than a minute from the restart through Paul Mulders, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
The result meant that Vietnam will take on the runners-up from Group B, while Philippines will face the Group B winners.
Meanwhile, Indonesia ensured that they exited the tournament on a high by dispatching Laos 5-1 despite playing more than half the game with just ten men.
The Indonesians opened the scoring just eight minutes into the game when teenager Evans Dimas scored on his debut with an effort from an edge of the box.
They then doubled their lead in the 20th minute through another debutant, Ramdani Lestahulu, before Supardi Nasir was shown a straight red after fouling Vilayout Sayyabounsou in the box as the last man in the 28th minute.
Khampheng Sayavutthi made no mistake from the spot as Laos pulled one back, but any hopes of picking up their first points in the tournament quickly diminished as Ramdhani scored his second minutes after half-time.
The Garudas made it 4-1 through substitute Zulham Zarun’s measured finish in the 82nd minute, before wrapping the win a minute from time after Ketsada Souksavanh turned Zulham’s cross into his own net.
Photo: AFF Suzuki Cup Twitter