Vietnam say good-bye to AFF Suzuki Cup 2016

Wednesday, 2016-12-07 22:36:12
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Captain Cong Vinh and his teammates cannot turn things around during the semi-finals’ return leg at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium December 7. (Credit: VNE)
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NDO—Mistakes by the defensive line forced Vietnam to leave the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF)’s Suzuki Cup 2016 after a 2-2 draw with Indonesia in the semi-finals’ second leg at home on December 7.

Vietnam entered the home match at My Dinh Stadium with great hope to turn the tables after their 1-2 away loss to Indonesia in the first leg on Saturday.

The hosts had three changes in the lineup. After suspension, defender Dinh Luat returned to the centre of the defensive line to replace Tien Dung. On the midfield, Van Toan and Thanh Trung were awarded opportunities instead of Thanh Luong and Van Thang.

With huge support from 40,000 home fans, Vietnam made attacks right from the first few minutes. The constant pressure helped Coach Nguyen Huu Thang’s players create initial difficulties for the guests.

In the eighth minute, the hosts had the first shot. Van Thanh made a finish from outside the penalty area, but the ball just missed Indonesia’s goal.

Opportunities continuously came to Vietnam as the guests focused on counterattack tactics and played on their half, giving all the midfield to the home side.

In the 21st minute, the ball was delivered to the penalty area, but Captain Cong Vinh proved to be too slow against goalkeeper Meiga’s pressure.

Thirteen minutes later, Vietnam was granted a free kick from 20m. Thanh Trung was good but not enough to net the ball.

In the last minutes of the first half, the hosts had a range of chances to score, but Vietnam’s strikers could not make a goal.

The first few minutes into the second half seemed to be the same as during the first half. Vietnamese players strengthened pressure on their visitors. Van Toan had a chance to test Meiga’s skill, but his shot narrowly missed the pole. Next, Thanh Trung sent the ball towards Indonesian goal but Cong Vinh was unable to touch it.

Playing offensive but unable to score, Vietnam suffer in the worst possible way. It seemed that the ball was hanging harmlessly into Vietnam’s penalty box but defender Dinh Dong and goalkeeper Nguyen Manh’s inconsistencies lead to very unfortunate goal. Stefano Lilipaly punished Vietnam’s mistake with the opening goal in the 54th minute.

Vietnam’s defensive line seemed to be unstable at the tournament, as they occasionally made mistakes in key matches. In addition, the unfortunate goal depressed Vietnam, while the Indonesian squad slowed down the match to play defensive.

Goalkeeper Nguyen Manh’s red card in the 75th minute forces Vietnam to play with ten men for the remainder of the match. (Credit: VNE)

Coach Huu Thang sent into the field several substitutions, but the home team still could not create clear openings. The match turned tougher in the 75th minute for Vietnam as goalkeeper Nguyen Manh suddenly received a red card. All three substitutions were made, so defender Que Ngoc Hai was forced to become the reluctant goalkeeper.

In the last ten minutes, hope was rekindled for Vietnam as Van Thanh scored the equaliser in the 83rd minute with a long shot from outside the penalty area.

The strengthened attacks paid off later when substitute Vu Minh Tuan became a hero with his precious goal in the 3rd minute of injury time, sending his home team into a 2-1 lead.

The levelled scoring after the official 90 minutes of the two matches sent the two teams into extra time.

Vietnam’s sprit was high thanks to its lead, but once again mistakes from the defensive line made them suffer. In the 96th minute, their offside trap was broken and goalie Que Ngoc Hai was forced to make a foul in the penalty area. A penalty was given to Indonesia and Lestusen made no mistake to level the scoring.

The results were hard for the hosts, leaving them with the impossible task of netting two more goals to earn a berth in the final.

The last few minutes saw ten-man Vietnamese side bombarding their guests’ goal, but Indonesia were strong enough to maintain the 2-2 draw after 120 minutes. The results helped them gain the first official ticket to the two-leg final match, slated for December 14 and 17.

Indonesia’s rivals in the final will be determined after the second semi-finals between hosts Thailand and Myanmar on Thursday. In the first leg, Coach Kiatisuk Senamuang’s side won a 2-0 victory over Myanmar in Yangon.

NGHIEM TRUNG