Vietnam served the ultimate surprise at this year’s AFF Under-15 Championship when they beat hosts Thailand 4-2 on penalties to lift only their second crown in the thirteen year history of the meet.
The score at the end of the regulatory 80 minutes was 0-0.
Vietnam, who last won the tournament back in 2010, were never over-awed by the occasion and they actually met the confident Thais blow by blow.
Both teams put up a vast array of attacking football as they entertained the several thousand at the stand.
Thailand led by Woragon Thongbai and Kittiphong Khetpara worked well in tandem as Thanarin Thumsen provided the support just a little behind.
A chance in the 15th minute with Woragon the provider as Thanarin missed the plot completely with a weak shot as Vietnam then replied with a clever lob when Thai keeper Anuchid Taweesri was out of position.
But the ball narrowly missed the upright.
The second half was again a string of missed chances as both Vietnam and Thailand not being able to make the break through.
Then came the dreaded penalty shootout with Thailand not getting off the mark well when Jakkrapong Sanmahung’s shot to the right was saved by Vietnam keeper Nguyen Duy Dung.
Vietnam then went on to convert all their chances through Dinh Thanh Trung, Ngo Quang Thuan, Khuat Van Khang to put the score at 3-2 to their advantage.
And when Sarawut Thongbai’s attempt was again blocked by Duy Dung, it came down to Trinh Quang Truong and he did not disappoint when he sent the ball to the right of Anuchid for the win.
In the meantime, Australia emerged third in this year’s competition when they beat Malaysia 3-2.
It was Malaysia who took the early initiative when in the seventh minute Muhammad Amirul Azzim Mohd Ruzki ran in from the right before slotting the ball in between the legs of Australian keeper Adam Pavlesic.
But it did not take Australia for the reply when in the 16th minute, Jaiden Kucharksi unleashed a curling shot to the top right corner of the Malaysian goal.
With Muhammad Amirul failing to convert a clear chance in the 28th minute, Australia took the opportunity to nail their second goal of the game in the 38th minute when the dimunitive George Antonis made good on a cross from Lachlan Sepping.
Australia stepped up a gear after the break but was unable to add to the score sheet up until the 76th minute when they won a penalty that was converted by Birkan Kirdar.
Malaysia then replied with their second goal of the game through Muhammad Danial Amali right at the death.
22 July 2017
(Final): Thailand 0 (2) Vietnam 0 (4)
(Third/Fourth Placing): Malaysia 2 Australia 3