Malacca (3 June, 2016): Thailand defeated Vietnam 2-0 with goals in each half to advance into Sunday’s final of the inaugural Nations Cup at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca today.
The Thais dictated terms just after kick-off against a Vietnamese side that struggled to find its rhythm despite a 2-4-3-1 formation introduced by head coach Hoang Anh Tuan, leaving striker Nguyen Tien Linh as the main goal poacher against the Nations Cup favourites.
And it only took Worrawoot Srimaka’s boys six minutes to break the deadlock following a defensive error by Huynh Tan Sinh, giving Chaiyawat Buran all the time to pluck the ball away, and raced down the left flank before relaying a cross to Nattawut Sombattoytha who packed it past goalkeeper Do Sy Huy without much challenge.
On the opposite end, Vietnam had its fair share of ball possession via Phang Thanh Hau and substitute Ha Duc Chinh combination but Duc Chinh shot from 20 minutes away sailed past the post with goalkeeper Apirak Worawong out of position.
The Thais upped the ante after the breather and went 2-0 up by the 72nd minute from a free-kick orchestrated by skipper Chenrop Samphaodi and midfielder Pravee Tantataemee placed it gently into the left side of the net.
Vietnam could have reduced the deficit four minutes before the end but Thanh Hau’s goal was ruled off side by Malaysian referee Zulkifli Ahmad.
Thailand now goes through to Sunday’s final and their likely opponents could be either Malaysia or Singapore who play later tonight.
“Overall I am not too happy with the performance of my boys. We missed several chances but I can see that the players were also affected by the heat and a tough challenge from Vietnam,” said Worrawoot.
Organised by the FA of Malaysia and promoted by leading sports agency MP & Silva, the winners of today’s opening matches advance to the final.