AFF U18: Vietnam edge Indonesia to close in on semi-final spot

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Vietnam scored a decisive 3-0 win over Indonesia to close in on a place in the semi-finals of the AFFUnder-18 Championship from Group B as the battle now goes down to the wire.

Both Indonesia and Vietnam had gone into the game at the Thuwunna Stadium on level points but the latter take the top spot in the group on better goal difference.

And this afternoon, Vietnam proved that they are deserving of the place at the top of the standings when they comprehensively beat Indonesia to pick up nine points from three matches played.

Indonesia are on six points from the same number of games while hosts Myanmar – on three points – will take on the Philippines later tonight.

“What made the difference on the day was discipline,” said Vietnam coach Hoang Anh Tuan after the game. “We respect all teams but we played with a lot of discipline and that is important.”

With the fearsome reputation of having beaten hosts Myanmar in their first game of the competition, Indonesia took to the field confidently but the afternoon heat seem to have an adverse effect on their usual game.

Vietnam were more patient at the start when they absorbed much of the first-half offensive play.

But the loss of No. 1 keeper Muhammad Riyandi to a knee injury in the 37th minute disrupted the team’s confidence somewhat and it took just three minutes for Vietnam to go in front.

Some hesitant Indonesian defending from a Lieu Quang Vinh cross allowed Le Van Nam the chance to stab home while a minute before the break, he was again on target to give Vietnam a healthy 2-0 advantage going into the second half.

Vietnam kept up the momentum after the breather as they remained compact and rarely allowed Indonesia to play down the flanks.

Tried as hard as they could but they just could not find their way through as Egy Maulana Vikri and Co. remained frustrated.

Four minutes to the end, Vietnam made sure of the win with Bui Hoang Viet Anh heading in the corner from close.

“The change in the goalkeeper affected the team although both players are on level terms,” said Indonesian head coach Indra Sjafri. “We are still confident of reaching the semi-finals nonetheless as we still have one more game to play.”

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