Thailand made the final of the AFF Women’s Championship after beating hosts Vietnam 2-1 after extra-time in the second semi-finals that was played here at the Thong Nhat Stadium.
With the win, the defending champions will take on Myanmar in the final match of the tournament this year in two days at the same venue.
“I thought that we were lucky,” said Thai coach Nuengrutai Srithongvian. “We had a few chances to score but we managed to find the back of the net twice. The game was very long so credit to the players.”
With several thousands supporting the Vietnam girls from the stands, it was no surprise that it was the home team who were the early aggressors. And it was Vietnam who scored first when off a corner Tran Thi Thuy Trang corner, striker Nguyen Thi Lieu headed in the ball from the far corner.
Thailand maintained their cool all the way into the second half and just seven minutes after the restart, they got their equalizer when Nisa Romyen beat her marker Nguyen Hai Hoa to score.
The game went into higher after that but neither side could find the winner which forced the game into extra time. And just two minutes in a long ball from deep, saw Nisa racing forward to lob the ball past the oncoming Vietnam keeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh.
With cramps seeping into the Thai squad, the game was stopped several times and where at one point, they even had to play with just nine players on the field.
But in the end, it was just too late for Vietnam to change the inevitable.
“We did not beat them today but that does not mean that we cannot beat them in the future,” added Vietnam coach Takashi Norimatsu.
IN THE MEANTIME, striker Naw Arlo Wer Phaw’s solitary strike in the second half was enough to put Myanmar through after beating the Under-20 team of Australia 1-0 in the an earlier semi-final.
Wer Phaw scored the only goal of the game in the 51st minute.
“We know that the Australians were tactically stronger but I thought that our girls managed to raise the level of their game,” said Myanmar coach Thet Thet Win.
“Now that we are in the final, it really does not matter who we play against. The target is to win the cup, so we must be able to beat anybody.”
The Australian girls who had been so dominant in the group matches seemed to be a little off colour on the day even though they tried hard through the wily Alexandra Chidiac.
But it was Myanmar who controlled most of the pace with Wer Phaw and also Yee Yee Oo the driving force in their attacks.
And had it not been for the hard work and timely interception of goalkeeper Teagan Migah, the score would not have been a deadlock at the end of the first half.
But just six minutes in, Myanmar duly went forward when Wer Phaw tapped in the cross from Khin Marlar Tun.
“I have no complain,” said Australian coach Ante Juric afterwards. “They are still young girls and I thought that they played really well. They never give up.”
8 May 2015
Australia 0 Myanmar 1
Vietnam 1 Thailand 2 (after extra-time)
FIXTURES (10 May 2015)
THIRD & FOURTH PLACING – Australia U20 vs Vietnam (1600)
FINAL – Myanmar vs Thailand (1900)