|Defending champions Viet Nam have taken a step closer to defending their women's SEA Games football title after defeating Malaysia 4-0 in their semi-final match.— Photo bongdaso
NAY PYI TAW (VNS)— Defending champions Viet Nam have taken a step closer to defending their women's SEA Games football title after defeating Malaysia 4-0 in their semi-final match.
In the final, Viet Nam will face the winners of the match between Thailand and hosts Myanmar.
Viet Nam's goals were scored by striker Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet, who scored a double, midfielder Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung and striker Huynh Nhu.
As being a winner in Group A, Viet Nam entered the match as favourites with Viet Nam dominating possession and Malaysia playing on the defensive.
The Malaysian side's intention of defending with large numbers on their half of the pitch and waiting for opportunities to pounce came unstuck from the very beginning, as Viet Nam quickly established an early lead.
Defender Nguyen Thi Xuyen's corner flew low, crossing in front of the goal, passing a Malaysian defender and midfielder Tran Thi Kim Hong, who failed to make contact, but striker Nguyet appeared at the right time in the right place to easily put the ball home from a close range and place Viet Nam ahead.
Malaysia's determination and bravery gave the Vietnamese team a difficult match. Despite its dominance in possession, Viet Nam struggled to find space and a way into Malaysia's area.
Viet Nam had a good chance to double its lead in the 34th minute when Nhu raced past Malaysian defenders to face the Malaysian goalkeeper, but her intention to loop the ball over the Malaysian keeper failed, as the ball went off target due to bad contact with the ball.
Malaysia also gave Vietnamese fans a real scare in the 39th minute when an unexpectedly long-distance shot from a Malaysian player almost turned into a goal, except for Vietnamese keeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh's ability to palm the ball over the crossbar.
In the last minute of the first half, Xuyen almost doubled the score for Viet Nam when she broke into the box area and released a powerful shot, but it hit the crossbar.
The action in the second half was similar to the first half, with Viet Nam controlling the match and dominating possession. And it also only took ten minutes into the second half for Viet Nam to widen their lead to two goals.
Malaysia's defence made a significant mistake when a defender, whose efforts of clearing the ball from the goal failed, saw the ball fall into Dung's path, as the Vietnamese player collected the ball and drove home from the edge of the box.
Two minutes later, Nhu again missed an excellent opportunity to triple the lead for Viet Nam. Nhu escaped from the Malaysian defenders to touch the ball, but the Malaysian keeper's legs blocked Viet Nam third goal.
Malaysia made some changes to turn their game into an offensive strategy, but they could not match Viet Nam technically, and it was only a matter of time for the defending champions to kill off their opponents.
It was in the 64th minute that Nguyet scored her second goal in the match to help Viet Nam with a commanding 3-0 lead and end any hopes of a comeback from the Malaysians.
Huynh Nhu made it 4-0 for Viet Nam in the 77th minute when she drove home at close range with a ball rebounding off of the crossbar.
In other football news, Viet Nam qualified for the final in futsal (indoor football) after drawing 3-3 with Malaysia in the last match to rank second, in a five-team competition played in a round-robin format.
Viet Nam opened the scoring via Tran Thuy Trang in the first half, but Malaysia fought back in the second half to lead 3-2, though Vu Huyen Linh scored the equaliser to earn Viet Nam a 3-3 draw.
With one point from the match, Viet Nam ranks second with seven points after four matches to set up a final against Thailand on Friday. — VNS