|Captain Huỳnh Như (9) duels for possession with Myanmar's Khin Thai Wai. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Linh|
QUẢNG NINH — As expected, the SEA Games women’s football final will again be a clash between the region’s number one and two: Việt Nam and Thailand.
While Việt Nam squeezed past Myanmar 1-0 in a tight match between the two, Thailand showed their class against the Philippines with the big 3-0 win in the semi–finals.
The earlier match saw Thailand initially facing huge difficulties against a determined the Philippines, who had a much longer time to prepare for the semis following Indonesia’s withdrawal from Group A.
With a batch of young talented players who’ve had experience playing abroad, the Filipino women went for the Thais right from the off.
With better physicality, the Filipinos were able to press higher and better Thailand in many one–on–ones in both wings, creating dangerous crosses into the box.
However, with the experience of being five-time SEA Games champions, Thailand handled those threats well, sat back and waited to launch deadly counter-attacks.
Miyo Okamoto’s tactics seemed to work as it was the Thais that had the first opportunity to open the scoresheet.
From a quick counter in the 15th minute, the ball was fed straight from Thailand’s side to Chetthabutr, who broke the Philippines’ offside trap to face goalkeeper McDaniel.
Thanks to the pressure caused by the goalkeeper trained in the US, the Philippines got away as Chetthabutr’s shot went wide.
The shot didn’t go in, but it certainly brought momentum and possession to the Thais, with chance after chance toward McDaniel’s goal.
This pressure led to the Thais’ opener in the 22nd minute.
From a clumsy control, the Philippines’s captain Annis lost the ball on the left which led to Waenngoen’s cross. At the end of it in the box was Silawan Intamee.
Intamee’s missed header turned out to be a perfect first touch that fooled the Philippines’ defenders. With only McDaniel to beat, Thailand’s captain fired home with a close-range shot.
The opening goal woke up the Philippines, who seemed to have lost control of the match. The first half saw Alen Stajcic’s women throw everything at Thailand to find the equaliser.
And, with just a little bit more luck, they could have found a goal.
Despite facing enormous pressure, Thailand’s class helped keep the door shut by halftime.
The break did them well, and from Taneekan Dangda’s superb turn and shot just after the break, they made the score 2-0.
The nail in the coffin came in the 91st minute when Somnek sealed the match with a final goal.
Though the Philippines lost, the future looks bright for them - Alen Stajcic’s promising talents were able to keep the mighty Thais on their toes for most of the match.
The 3-0 win brings Thailand face-to-face with their arch-rival Việt Nam in the final, as the hosts defeated Myanmar 1-0 in the later match, moving one step closer to defending their SEA Games title.
|Thailand's Silawan Intamee (right) scored the opening goal. VNA/VNS Photo Anh Tuấn|
Việt Nam’s only goal was a combination of the hosts’ leading players as captain Huỳnh Như capitalised on vice-captain Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung’s brilliant free-kick to seal the win with a powerful header.
The final between Việt Nam and Thailand will take place on May 21 at 7pm, while Myanmar and the Philippines will fight for the bronze medal at 4pm.
All matches are held in Cẩm Phả Stadium, Quảng Ninh Province.