|Striker Lê Công Vinh (right) vies for the ball with Cambodia’s players at the last Group B match of the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup on Saturday. — Photo vff.org.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam national football team will meet Indonesia in the ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup’s semi-final, after the team defeated Cambodia 2-1 in the last Group B match at the Wunna Theikdi Stadium on Saturday.
The win saw Việt Nam finish on top of Group B with nine points and qualify for the event’s semi-finals.
This is the first time that Việt Nam have earned a ticket to compete in the next stage with three wins.
Earlier, the team defeated Myanmar 2-1 and Malaysia 1-0.
In their 11 times competing in the AFF Cup, Việt Nam have reached the semi-finals nine times. They won the title in 2008.
Việt Nam will meet Indonesia, the runners-up of Group A, in the first leg of the semi-finals on December 3 in Indonesia. The two teams will again meet in the second leg of the semi-finals on December 7 at National Mỹ Đình Stadium in Hà Nội.
In other semi-final matches, Thailand, which top group A, will face Myanmar, who rank second in Group B.
Việt Nam played with 10 men since the sixth minute of the match with Cambodia, after midfielder Trương Đình Luật received a red card for his tackle of striker Chan Vathanaka of Cambodia.
However, Việt Nam took the lead in the 20th minute when Lê Công Vinh struck home after a pass from Nguyễn Văn Toàn.
Vinh’s goal encouraged his teammates, who continued with many attacks on their rivals.
In the 50th minute, the score was 2-0 when as a simple long ball into the heart of the defence saw Nub Tola inexplicably lob the ball over his own goalkeeper to effectively kill off the match.
In the 65th minute, Chreng Polroth narrowed the gap to 2-1 for Cambodia.
With a goal in this match, Vinh has become the second best scorer in the AFF Cup history, with 15 goals, behind Noh Alam Shah of Singapore with 17 goals.
In theory, Vinh can catch or overcome Shah, because while Shah retired from competition, Vinh is playing for Việt Nam’s team in the ongoing tournament.
With his 15th goal, Vinh also passed veteran Lê Huỳnh Đức, who has scored 14 goals, to become the best scorer in Việt Nam football history at the regional event.
“I am very glad with the match’s result. But I am happier because my players played unyieldingly after playing with 10 people,” said Vietnamese coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng after the match.
“In the condition of 10 against 11, we played with a 4-4-1 formation and played defence attack. We had many chances to score goals. It is very normal in football when Cambodia gathered up to attack and Việt Nam were defensive. It is the most important that we won,” said Thắng.
“Cambodia are not a weak team, and they made it difficult for Myanmar and Malaysia. I am very happy with Việt Nam’s win and spirit,” said midfielder Phạm Thành Lương.
Meanwhile, Cambodia coach Lee Tae-Hoon praised Việt Nam as “one of the best teams in Southeast Asia”
“Việt Nam are one of the best teams in Southeast Asia. They lost a player early into the game but still controlled the play”, Lee said on the website footballchannel.asia.
“We had our best game so far, but I must admit that Việt Nam are a better team. We are a young side and need more experience”, the South Korean coach added.
Việt Nam’s team returned to HCM City yesterday. They have five days to prepare for the coming semi-final’s first leg in Indonesia. — VNS