Thailand, the reigning champions and favourites this year, turned up the heat in the second half to deliver a stunning performance against Vietnam to advance to the final of the AFF Futsal Championship. In front of a capacity crowd of 12,000 at the Bangkok Arena, the Thais charged into the final with a 6-0 win today.
Thailand will either face Australia or Malaysia, who will battle it out in the other semifinal tie later today, in the final on Friday evening.
“We are playing better and better and I believe that we will play even better when we take on Australia in the final,” said Vic Hermans, the coach of Thailand. “Generally, I am satisfied with the performance as it is a step forward to the AFC meet next year.”
Vietnam, who started without No.1 keeper Phung Trong Luan and Ngo Dinh Thuan, who were both suspended for this game, were all over their rivals and restricted their movements. Still, the Thais managed to sneak in several shots, and they even came close.
Thailand had the Lion’s share of shots at goal. Of the several of chances, at least two were off the mark by inches. In the ninth minute, Kritsada Wongkaeo squeezed in a lovely cross but the speedy Suphawut Thueanklang was a mere mili-second too slow to connect.
Vietnam, who are already short of players, had a scare when Tran Van Tu limped off, but he later came back on. Vietnam had one of their few chances in the 13th minute but Pham Duc Hoa’s sizzler was saved.
With about five minutes to go, the Thai fans were screaming in despair as the team missed two quick shots. . First, Kritsada could have scored a beauty of the goal but his tipped shot over the keeper, was just off the mark. Then, Nattavut Madyalan’s thundering shot was somehow saved.
In the last minute, the fans though the goal had finally arrived, but Vu Xuan Du managed to sneak in and clear the ball just as it was about the roll over the line. Suphawut waltzed past a defender and slipped the ball past the onrushing keeper, only to watch it knocked away by Xuan Du.
After the break, Thailand slowly broke down the Vietnamese defence and eventually opened the accounts to the delight of the fans. Jirawat Sornwichian pounced on a defensive error to score in the 29th minute. A minute later, Nattavut blasted Thailand further ahead.
It was third goal which broke the Vietnamese spirits after Suphawut intercepted a pass during power play and hit it into an open goal. Suphawut went on to score two more goals for a hattrick (38th, 39th), while Nattavut and Jetsada Chudech had one each in the 32nd and 39th minutes. “I only like the first 30 minutes, the last ten minutes not so much,” said Vietnam coach Bruno Formoso.
“Anyone who saw the game would agree that the six-goals score line was not a true reflection of how we played today.”
Thailand 6 Vietnam 0