HÀ NỘI — A fluke goal in the final seconds of injury time was enough for Việt Nam to beat Thailand and progress to the final of the King’s Cup yesterday.
Việt Nam beats Thailand and progress to the final of the King’s Cup yesterday.— VNA/VNS Photo
As everyone prepared for penalties, a 93rd minute corner for the visitors was flung into the box and met the head of Nguyễn Anh Đức.
It should have been a comfortable save for Thai number one Kawin Thamsatchaman but he made a hash of it and the ball fell agonisingly behind him into the back of the net.
Việt Nam will now meet Curacao on Saturday evening in the final at the same ground as the semi-final, the Chang Arena in Buriram, Thailand.
The away side started brightly, and as early as three minutes had a chance to open the scoring from a free-kick.
Dead ball specialist Nguyễn Quang Hải took the strike but his cross was easily cleared.
Two corners in the first 15 minutes for the visitors failed to produce a clear-cut chance and on 17 minutes, Thailand almost made them pay.
A neat turn and shot from striker Supachai Jaided struck the woodwork, and the whole of Việt Nam breathed a sigh of relief.
Although that effort was against the run of play it sparked life into the home side who began to put their foot on the ball and ease back into the game.
Just after the half hour mark a mistake by Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng gave Thitiphan Puangjan a glorious chance to open the scoring but his shot on the spin went wide of the post.
Five minutes before the interval Việt Nam almost caught Thailand on the break. A great run by Văn Toàn into the host’s box gave him a shooting opportunity.
But after twisting and turning his effort was tame and easily cleared to safety.
After the break Thailand made one change, with Sumanya Purisai coming on for Sarach Yooyen.
There were few chances to begin with but the match did spring into life on 64 minutes as both teams clashed in the middle of the pitch.
Some needless pushing and shoving led to yellow cards being shown to Nguyễn Văn Toàn and Theerathon Bunmathon with the Vietnamese striker substituted a minute later.
After 70 minutes the ball eventually found the back of the net from a Thai free-kick – only for the goal to be disallowed.
On 81 minutes, Quang Hải, who was largely anonymous by his high standards, found himself on the edge of the box but the star man dragged his shot wide.
The late drama was to come though, as the recently un-retired from international duty Anh Đức stepped up to send the travelling supporters wild. VNS