|On target: Vo Huy Toan celebrates his goal at the bronze-medal match between Viet Nam and Indonesia at the SEA Games in Singapore yesterday. Viet Nam won 5-0. — VNA/VNS Photo Quoc Khanh
HA NOI (VNS) — Leaving the disappointment of losing to Myanmar in the semi-finals, the Viet Nam national U23 football team defeated Indonesia 5-0 in the bronze-medal match at the 28th Southeast Asian Games in Singapore yesterday.
The win helped Viet Nam secure a football medal for the first time since 2009.
Mac Hong Quan, Vo Huy Toan, Nguyen Huu Dung and Que Ngoc Hai took turns to put their names on the score board, with Toan bagging two.
Viet Nam's coach Toshiya Miura used his strongest line up for the match with attackers Quan and Nguyen Cong Phuong. The team played decisively to win and regain the belief of Vietnamese fans.
Quan scored a penalty to open the scoring for Viet Nam in the 12th minute for his fourth goal of the tournament, and spurred on by their early lead, Viet Nam continued to press their rivals.
In the 20th minute, Toan scored a second goal for Viet Nam.
Indonesia continued to over possess the ball, lacking imagination through the middle and up front.
Twenty minutes later, Toan scored his second, simply replicating his first effort with just a little added curl and venom.
Toan is joint top scorer in the competition with Myanmar's Aung Sithu.
Phuong set up the fourth goal for Dung just before half-time, his first of the Games.
After the break, Viet Nam went on the hunt more goals, but Indonesia had several chances to reduce the deficit that were spurned.
In the 70th minute, Viet Nam scored their fifth through captain Hai.
Viet Nam scored points with fans with this impressive performance, and although hoping for their first-ever title at the regional Games, the fans embraced the players after the match, who presented them with their shirts.
Addressing the post-match press conference, Miura said he was very proud of his players who had entered the game with a clear intention of winning after the loss to Myanmar.
Miura said in terms of real ability, Viet Nam could have made the final, but in football, anything can happen. He was satisfied with the match against Indonesia but not happy with the bronze medal because Viet Nam could have done better.
The 52-year-old coach added that his team had been knocked out the semi-finals in the AFF Cup last year and the SEA Games this year, but believed the U23 team would be key players for the national team in the near future.
The coach also sent a thank you to the Vietnamese fans who travelled with the team during the Games, and said that their support had been a great driving force for the players.
Indonesia's fatigued footballers slumped empty-handed into the blackhole of a FIFA ban yesterday after their loss.
Last month Indonesia were banned for an unspecified period by world football's ruling body FIFA for government interference in the local football association.
The row had already brought a halt to the domestic leagues and meant the country were booted out of the 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The SEA Games squad were allowed to compete in Singapore as the tournament had already started when FIFA made its decision but head coach Aji Santoso said the strain had been too much.
"After the SEA Games all the players don't know what they will do," he said. "Mentally the FIFA suspension has an influence.
"I don't know how long FIFA will suspend Indonesia. I hope the case is cleared as soon as possible. I'm very disappointed for the players, they don't understand what to do now."
Thailand extended their stranglehold over regional football, cruising to a 3-0 win over Myanmar in the SEA Games final to retain their gold at the National Stadium yesterday.
The Thai have now claimed the SEA Games football crown in 14 of the 28 editions.
In front of more than 30,000 fans, the White Elephants mustered 15 shot attempts in the first half alone, but found Myanmar goalkeeper Phyo Kyaw Zin in top form.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 54th minute when centreback Tanaboon Kesarat sidefooted home after a scramble from a corner.
Striker Chananan Pombubpha gave them more reason to cheer just past the hour mark, latching onto Nurul Sriyankem's slide-rule pass to slot past a helpless Phyo. Substitute Pinyo Inpinit capped another sleek passing move to grab his team's third goal in the 78th minute. — REUTERS/VNS