Tran Bao Toan delivered Vietnam their first ever-title when his header late in the first half gave them a 1-0 win over Thailand in the final of the AFF Under-23 Championship 2022 last night at the Morodok Techo National Stadium.
With the win tonight, Vietnam have joined an exclusive winners’ circle alongside Thailand (in 2005) and Indonesia (in 2019).
“I am very pleased with how they played tonight as they showed a lot of courage. And the replacement players who came in did very well,” said Vietnam head coach Dinh The Nam.
“They did what I expected of them and I can’t ask for more. I told the players that while we need to be attack-minded, we also have to control the midfield.”
In an evenly contested affair, the game was always going to be decided by which team wrested control of the midfield.
Thailand tried to stamp their authority early in the game with a fine cross from Kroekphon Arbram that was muffed by Thanawat Saipetch.
Vietnam then started to grow into the game through the excellent work of Vo Nguyen Hoang and Phan Tuan Tai who ran the Thai defence ragged.
And while a flurry of chances went wasted, a corner late in injury time saw a playback from Doan Ahnh Viet to Tuan Tai whose cross saw Boa Toan outjumping the Thai defence to head the ball into goal.
Into the second half and Thailand were playing catch up.
But Vietnam stood firm as they stick to their game plan of controlling the midfield and not allowing the Thais much opportunity to move into dangerous positions.
And in the end, as the frustration began to grow in the Thailand camp, that single goal was enough to deliver Vietnam the title this year – much to the jubilation of their fans at the stand.
“The players gave everything they had in the final, so there is no regret. Like what I said previously, this team is here to grow,” said Thailand head coach Salvador Garcia.
“The team gets to play some games against older players and this is a great chance for them to continue to develop as a team.”
In the meantime, Timor Leste and Laos shared the third spot in the competition.
AFF U23 CHAMPIONSHIP 2022
RESULT – Morodok Techo National Stadium
26 February 2022
Thailand 0-1 Vietnam
Pictures Courtesy @Sportfive