Tien Linh’s double sends Vietnam into SEA Games men’s football semifinals

Thursday, 2019-12-05 16:59:04
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Forward Nguyen Tien Linh celebrates equalising the scores for Vietnam U22s.
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NDO – Forward Nguyen Tien Linh scored a brace as Vietnam drew 2-2 with Thailand on December 5 to qualify for the semifinals of the 2019 SEA Games men’s football as the Group B winners.

Despite trailing two goals behind, Park Hang-seo’s side produced a strong resurgence to level the score thanks to a double from Tien Linh, thereby making the last four with an amazing unbeaten run (four wins and one draw).

The tie against Thailand helped Vietnam safeguard their top spot in the group with 13 points, one clear of second-placed Indonesia, who trounced Laos 4-0 in another clash on the same day to book their place in the semis.

Vietnam grabbed an upper hand going into the much-anticipated clash against Thailand, with Park’s side only needing a draw or avoiding a defeat of a two-goal margin or above to see themselves through to the semifinals.

However, the 2018 AFF Cup champions’ chance to progress further was suddenly put at risks, as the carelessness of goalkeeper Van Toan forced them to trail two goals behind after just 11 minutes.

In the fifth minute, taking a back pass from defender Van Hau, the Hai Phong goalie fired a shot forward straight at Thai forward Supachai Jaided, and the ball rebounded back into the empty net to the shock of Vietnamese fans in attendance.

Six minutes later, Van Toan failed to save a one-on-one with Suphanat Mueanta, allowing them no. 17 forward to slot it in to double the advantage for Thailand.

Their efforts paid off in the 15th minute as Tien Linh headed home from close range to reduce the gap by 1-2.

Tien Linh (no. 22) heads home to pull a goal back for Vietnam.

Vietnam threatened to score twice in the remainder of the first half, with Hung Dung’s long-range strike stopped by Thai goalkeeper Nont Muangnam and Hoang Duc’s freekick blocked by a Thai defender.

After the break, Vietnamese players continued to show a brilliant fighting spirit, as they dominated possession and poured constant attacks toward Thailand’s goal.

Park’s side were awarded a penalty in the 69th minute following Chatchai’s foul on Tien Linh inside the box, but Huynh Tan Sinh could not beat goalie Nont Muangnam to grab an equaliser.

Fortunately, Vietnam were allowed to take the penalty kick again as the referee stated that the Thai keeper moved forward before Tan Sinh’s spot shot. Tien Linh did not waste such a golden opportunity to restore the parity by placing a cunning shot to the opposite direction to Muangnam’s guess, thus lifting Vietnam through to the semifinals as the group winners.

Tien Linh beats the Thai goalkeeper from the spot to seal a precious draw for Vietnam.

This is a well-deserved reward for Vietnam who demonstrated a resilient fighting spirit until the final whistle.

As the Group B winners, Vietnam will set up a semifinal clash with Group A runners-up Cambodia, while Group B runners-up Indonesia will compete against Group A winners Myanmar for a ticket to the title match.

VAN TOAN