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SEA Games 31: Vietnam end group stage without conceding a goal
Minh Vu 23:25, 2022/05/15
Vietnam advanced to semi-finals with three winning matches and one draw.

Vietnam continued winning in the fourth and final match of the group stage at SEA Games 31 by a 2-0 win against Timor Leste at Viet Tri Stadium, north of Hanoi on May 15, securing the first place in Group A with 10 points without conceding a goal.

 Vietnam U23 players celebrate goals in match against Timor Leste on May 15. Photo: Anh Khoa

The home team’s goals were scored by Van Tung, 53’, and Thanh Minh, 65. In all four matches of the group stage, the team were unable to score in the first half.

In this game, Vietnam had fewer chances and more false passes than in the previous matches as Coach Park Hang-seo kept good footballers, including three overage players Hoang Duc, Tien Linh, and Captain Hung Dung for substitution. The South Korean tactician sent new faces to the match.

“The players gave their best, and I am grateful to them for that. But from now on, the team have to improve its organization to be able to play the next two matches to have good results. We will try our best for the semi-finals,” Park said in the post-match speech.

Timor Leste’s Coach Fábio Magrão after the match. Photo: Hanoimoi 

Meanwhile, Timor Leste’s Coach Fábio Magrão said: “Though saying goodbye to SEA Games 31, I am proud of my players because my opponent is very professional. For the past three years, our country has had no tournament. But Timor Leste U23 players performed very well.”

“Vietnam has quality and good physical players. I was impressed with No.9 (Nguyen Tien Linh) and 17 (Nham Manh Dung) of Vietnam in today’s match. In particular, I like midfielder No.14 (Hoang Duc), he plays very well in the assigned position. I used to play in this position so I like his style,” Fábio Magrão commented, noting that he was impressed with the Vietnamese people’s hospitality during the stay of the tournament.

Vietnam will know its rival in the semi-finals tomorrow after the last match in the group stage of Group B.

According to Park, two candidates for the semi-finals are likely Malaysia and Thailand as the Malaysian defense is well organized while Thailand are very strong in terms of individual skills, especially attack, with players of good technique and ability, including midfielders Ben Davies and Weerathep Pomphan.

 Vietnam's Coach Park Hang-seo. Photo: Hanoimoi

“As I said, whoever the opponent is, we will still play with the mentality of a brave warrior, ready to fight and win,” he emphasized.

In another move, Indonesia advanced to the semi-finals after defeating Myanmar 3-1 on the same day at the same stadium. After four matches, Vietnam bag 10 points, followed by Indonesia with 9 points while Myanmar rank third.

Myanmar’s Coach Velizar Popov shared with the media: “For me, Vietnam and Indonesia are the strongest opponents in this tournament. They are very experienced, possessing players who competed in the AFF Cup 2020,” adding that “I wish Indonesia and Vietnam good luck. I really hope they make it to the final as they are top seeds.”

 Vietnam and Timor Lester players in the match. Photo: Hanoimoi
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