A curling shot from Nguyen Thu Tuyet Dung gave Vietnam their place in the final of the AFF Women’s Championship 2019 when they beat the Philippines 2-1 in the semifinal that was played at the Institute of Physical Education (IPE) here.
It was Vietnam’s second final in three years after last making it in 2017.
“It was not easy to play against the Philippines. They defended well and even Thailand struggled against them,” said Vietnam head coach Mai Duc Chung. “At the start, we did not play well and this is one area which we need to improve. We need to settle down early.”
Both teams played it cautiously at the start as Vietnam seem to be struggling to string two passes together, it was the Philippines who created the first chance in the tenth minute off Quinley Quezada that narrowly missed the target.
Vietnam were soon pushing forward and with captain Huynh Nhu missing a double chance later, a pressing Philippines’ moment down the right saw defender Tran Thi Hong Nhu’s long back pass taking a bounce before going over custodian Tran Thi Kim Thanh and into goal.
The own goal failed to rattle Vietnam as Huynh Nhu then made up for her earlier misses when she made good on a quick counter-attack from Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy in the 41st minute to score the equaliser.
The Philippines continue to struggle to get behind the Vietnam defense marshalled by Pham Thi Tuoi as the best they could muster was a rifling shot from Quezada that was forced out.
Vietnam were more brazen into the second half as they controlled the game from Hunyh Nhu distributive prowess.
She was again in the thick of the action in the 51st minute but her short pass was wasted by Thi Tuoi weak effort.
However just six minutes later. Vietnam grabbed their second of the evening and the winner with a wonderful curling shot from Tuyet Dung.
With the game fast slipping away, the Philippines tried hard to look for the equaliser but they were just unable to find their way through a stubborn Vietnam backline as the scored stayed all the way to the finish.
“It was difficult to stop their combination play and that forced us to take a more defensive position,” said Philippines head coach Marnelli Dimzon.”But the future is good for us as we have several good players.”