Two quick goals in the second half gave Vietnam a hard fought 2-1 win over the Philippines in the opening game of Group A of the Under-22 LG Cup 2019 this afternoon at the National Olympic Stadium here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
But the win would no doubt have given Vietnam head coach Nguyen Quoc Tuan plenty to think about as his team wasted a hatful of chances and had to endure some anxious moments before they were able to pick up the full points.
“I am pleased with the results today,” he quipped afterwards.
Vietnam were the overwhelming favourite at the start of the match but as the game progresses, they would find things hard going as Philippines keeper Michael Cangco Asong made saves after incredible saves.
Nguyen Huu Thanh, Le Van Xuan and Tran Bao Toan all failed from close or from afield as Asong hit all the right notes to stop the ball from going in at the end of an exhilarating first half.
But just six minutes after the breather, Vietnam fell behind when Jeremiah Chaboun Borlongan dug in superb freekick to beat custodian Phan Van Bieu from close.
The Philippines then held on for long periods before they finally caved in the 74th minute when substitute Tran Danh Trung made good on the cross from Xuan Tu.
And four minutes later, Vietnam finally went ahead for the first time in the game off a clever flick from another substitute Le Minh Binh from a corner.
“The boys fought hard. But we collapsed towards the end. Thi sis the results of just two weeks of training. I don’t blame the players. They did well under the circumstances,” added Philippines head coach Andres Gonzales.