Trong Hoang’s goal secures Vietnam a place in AFF Cup semi-finals

Wednesday, 2016-11-23 21:24:09
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The only goal by Trong Hoang helped Vietnam beat Malaysia 1-0 to claim the top spot in Group B and a ticket to the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016. (Credit: zing.vn)
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NDO – Midfielder Trong Hoang scored the only goal at the 80th minute to help Vietnam beat Malaysia 1-0 and secure a place in the semi-finals of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2016, while taking the leading position in Group B after two wins.

>>> Vietnam produce sweet start to AFF Suzuki Cup campaign

The two teams entered their Wednesday clash with three points each after the first group stage match, with three points up for grabs to decide which team would earn a place in the semi-finals.

Malaysia have long been formidable opponents of Vietnam as the team were responsible for Vietnam’s losses in several key matches in the past, both in the AFF Cups and the SEA Games. Malaysian players, who have sheer physical strength and solid skill-sets were a major obstacle for Coach Nguyen Huu Thang and his players.

The game at Thuwunna Stadium in Myanmar’s city of Yangon had been postponed two times due to the scorching heat and the narrow score of 1-0 also reflected the tight progress on the field.

Malaysia stuck to counter-attacks in order to deal with Vietnam’s skilful players. They relied mainly on advantages from high speed striker Mohd Syazwan, who tested Vietnam’s defensive line and goalie Nguyen Manh with his quick moves and decisive finishes.

During the 1st half and the first minutes of the 2nd, Vietnam faced a range of difficulties, as their opponents mainly played in their own half, with the intention of breaking Vietnam’s coordination.

After a long bout of silence even with the extensive skills of midfielder Xuan Truong, who plays for Incheon United in the Republic of Korea's professional football league, and Coach Thang's two consecutive substitutes to send Thanh Luong and Cong Phuong onto the field, still the team was unable to breakthrough Malaysia’s defence line.

Trong Hoang and Xuan Truong’s coordination seal Vietnam the only goal. (Credit: zing.vn)

Vietnam’s first clear-cut chance to score fell to Hoang after Truong’s pass put the midfielder face-to-face with the Malaysian goalkeeper but he failed to take shot.

Hoang again missed another chance in the second half but finally beat the Malaysian goalkeeper in the 80th minute. Again Hoang’s goal was set up by Truong.

Receiving the ball from Truong, Hoang made a cut through two defenders in the penalty area, after which his left-side shot gave goalkeeper Fahmi no chance.

After breaking the deadlock, Hoang also missed another chance in the last minutes to widen the gap for Vietnam.

The narrow win helped Vietnam officially secure a place in the semi-finals, taking the top spot in Group B with six points after two matches.

The loss kept Malaysia in second place with three points, the same as hosts Myanmar, who beat Cambodia 3-1 in their clash later the same day. Malaysia now have to compete for the second ticket of the group with the hosts.

Vietnam will play its last group match against Cambodia on November 26.

In Group A, Thailand was the first team to reach the semi-final round after two victories over Indonesia and Singapore.