|Vietnamese players celebrate their 2-1 win over Thailand on Tuần Châu Island, Quảng Ninh Province, on May 8. VNA/VNS Photo Quý Trung
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam grabbed their third win in a row at the SEA Games 31's men's beach handball tournament on May 8 in Quảng Ninh Province.
The host team defeated Thailand 2-1 in the third-round match on Tuần Châu Island.
The first half saw Việt Nam attack rapidly and they quickly went ahead.
La Văn Lớn, Lê Văn Bình and Nguyễn Chí Tâm took the responsibility of scoring for the hosts, who received strong support from residents and tourists.
They ended the first set at 21-12.
The 15-minute interval was worth it for the Thais who came back strongly with more threatening attacks that put them ahead in the set.
Coach Trịnh Huy Cường urged his players to strengthen their defence and fight back but his players could not narrow the gap. The second set ended at 20-16 for the visitors, leading to a shoot-out.
It was the first set lost by Việt Nam, the defending champions.
|A Vietnamese attack during the match. — VNA/VNS Photo Quý Trung
The shoot-out was neck-on-neck, reaching 10 apiece. Goalkeeper Võ Vương Trọng ended up the hero of the Vietnamese side, denying many powerful finishes as Việt Nam eventually ran out 18-16 winners.
Earlier, Việt Nam had beaten Singapore and the Philippines, both 2-0.
With three wins, Việt Nam are top of the ranking table and have one hand on the championship trophy, although there are three more matches to go.
In the earlier game on May 8, the Philippines beat Singapore 2-0.
|Thailand came back in the second set and levelled the score. VNA/VNS Photo Quý Trung
There are four teams taking part in this event, competing in a two-leg round-robin format. The team with the best points will take gold on May 11, one day before the opening ceremony.
Initially, five teams registered to take part in the men's beach handball, before Indonesia dropped out.
They also pulled out of the women's category, leading to the cancellation of this event. Their decision left only two teams, Việt Nam and Thailand, and regulations rules a tournament can only take place with at least three teams.
The Vietnamese women could not compete at the SEA Games 31 but they recently won the Asian championship. They will be continental representatives at the world championship in Greece in June and the World Games in the US in July. VNS