Vietnam score late to secure win over Philippines and reach AFF Suzuki Cup final
Two goals in the last seven minutes sealed Vietnam’s place in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Thursday as Park Hang-Seo’s side defeated Philippines 2-1 to secure a 4-2 aggregate win.
Vietnam, 2008 title winners, will take on Malaysia over two legs in the tournament decider, with the first meeting on Tuesday in Kuala Lumpur after Tan Cheng Hoe’s side saw off defending champions Thailand on Wednesday.
Vietnam were favourites to advance to the final after securing a 2-1 win in Bacolod in the first leg on Sunday and, despite needing to score twice, the Philippines rarely threatened.
Iain Ramsay had the Philippines’s only attempt on goal in the opening 45 minutes, with the Australia-born winger watching his long-range attempt fly just over the bar.
Nguyen Quang Hai went closest for Vietnam in the first half with an overhead kick that was saved by Azkals goalkeeper Patrick Deyto, but with seven minutes remaining it was the diminutive midfielder who put Vietnam in front.
Phan Van Duc outstripped Amani Aguinaldo before squaring the ball to Quang Hai, and he slotted home with ease from six metres.
Four minutes later Nguyen Cong Phuong added the second and, although James Younghusband pulled one back in the 89th minute, the damage had been done to the Azkals’ hopes.
The first leg of the final will be played on Dec. 11, with the return in Hanoi four days later.