International media impressed with Vietnam’s AFF Cup final berth

Friday, 2018-12-07 10:06:40
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Quang Hai launches a bicycle kick towards the Philippines goal during the semifinal return leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium on December 6. (Photo: AFF Suzuki Cup 2018)
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NDO – International media expressed impression after coach Park Hang-seo’s side net in two late goals against the Philippines on December 6 to officially seal their place in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

>>> Vietnam secure ticket to AFF Cup finals

FOX Sports Asia ran a report after the game at My Dinh Stadium last night, saying that Park has convincingly guided his team to the final with a commanding 4-2 aggregate win over the Philippines.

With a 2-1 lead from last Sunday’s first leg in Bacolod, Vietnam entered the return encounter at My Dinh firmly in the driving seat, especially being in possession of two away goals. The hosts were more than happy to sit back and let their opponents chase the games.

Quang Hai and Cong Phuong’s goals in the last minutes of the second half were enough to help the hosts advance 4-2 on aggregate. FOX Sports Asia was also impressed with an impenetrable Vietnam, who “have forged a reputation, during their remarkable cup run, of being the toughest side defensively.” The Golden Dragons had conceded just once before their semi-final second leg match against the Philippines, keeping four clean sheets in the process.

Vietnam’s 5-3-2 formation kept the Philippines attackers at bay, while the two wingbacks raced up and down the wings to stretch the play. Furthermore, the three central midfielders provided solid defensive cover and made it even harder for their opponents to get close to the goal.

“It was yet another defensive masterclass from Park Hang-Seo’s side, who are slowly turning into a force to be reckoned with,” FOX Sports Asia stated.

The win also helped Vietnam extend their streak to 14 games unbeaten after another solid performance at the My Dinh Stadium. Vietnam’s last defeat was on December 7, 2016, and they now sit on seven draws and seven victories as they head into the final against Malaysia, said FOX Sports Asia.

Vietnam’s Trong Hoang (No. 8) in action with Kevin Ingreso of the Philippines during their clash at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium on December 6. (Photo: AFF Suzuki Cup 2018)

Meanwhile, the media in the Philippines were disappointed about their home team’s defeat. The Philippine Star said there was no second coming of the famous “Miracle in Hanoi” for the history-chasing Philippine Azkals against Vietnam.

Seeking to recreate their 2010 upset of the Golden Dragons in the Vietnamese capital and grab a breakthrough finals stint in the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup, the Azkals fell short as they suffered a disastrous 1-2 setback in the second leg of the semis last night.

The Philippine Star admitted that the Azkals had failed to make an overturn, despite controlling possession at 54.7%. They managed to take only three attempts in the must-score, must-win outing, while the Golden Dragons posed more danger in the final third, launching 10 shots, four of them on target.

Rappler run a title “Azkals bow out of 2018 Suzuki Cup semis”, saying that no "Miracle in Hanoi" this time. It affirmed that “the Vietnamese's cushion proved too much for the Filipinos as Vietnam's 2-1 away win over the Philippines in the first leg gave the eventual finalists a two-goal advantage on aggregate and the last title berth.”

Vietnam beat the Philippines 4-2 on aggregate to enter the AFF Suzuki Cup final against Malaysia, which dethroned Thailand in the other semifinal pairing a day earlier. (Photo: AFF Suzuki Cup 2018)

The win secured Vietnam a place in the two-legged final where they will face Malaysia at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on December 11 before hosting the return leg on December 15.

According to Goal, Malaysia will have a chance to avenge the defeat they suffered at the hands of Vietnam in the group stage after the Golden Dragons reached the final.

In the group stage in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup, both teams started the competition in Group A. Vietnam came away with a 2-0 win after Park Hang-seo produced a masterclass in tactics. The final will be a repeat of this group stage match. However, Goal warned that Malaysia have grown tremendously since then, as proven by the win over Myanmar as well as the great outcome achieved against Thailand.

TRUNG HUNG