Philippines 1 Vietnam 0
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The Philippines continued to haunt Vietnam in the AFF Suzuki Cup on Tuesday with a dramatic 1-0 victory in Group A at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium that kick-started their campaign after an opening loss to Thailand.
Philippines beat the 2008 champions at the group stage two years ago in a result that rocked Asean football and they repeated the dose here.
The winning goal came in the 85th minute when super-sub Emilio Caligdong lashed the ball home after a defence-splitting pass by Angel Guirado, who also came into the action in the second half.
It had been an even, but scrappy, tussle up to that point but the Philippines were rewarded for their persistence as the clock ticked down.
Philippines coach Michael Weiss said that the substitutions swung the game in the favour of Philippines.
“My team fought like lions and warriors and withstood the power attacks of Vietnam. You can not give Vietnam even a metre’s space - they would exploit it sooner or later,” said Weiss, who watched the game from the stands after being sent off near the end of the Thailand match.
“We had to employ excessive defensive style with counter attacks which just came into full swing with the changes we made with fresh players coming on.
“Angel Guirado, Emelio Caligdong and Denis Wolf changed the match but that would not have been possible without the great defensive display.
“It was a fantastic performance and we are back in the race. We now play a strong Myanmar side and hopefully we can reach the semi-finals.”
Vietnam coach Phan Thanh Hung said that his players froze and made too many mistakes.
“Our team today played the worst match since I became head coach,” said Thanh Hung who took the job on a part-time basis in the summer.
“Before the game the whole team had good preparation in the aspect of mentality but when the match started so many players froze and made wrong passes. And the goal it came from a wrong pass from one player.”
He added that it was difficult to pierce the packed Philippines defence.
“They had a mass defence and it was difficult to break it down. We could not create any good chances or do anything that could turn the game,” he said.
“The players followed the tactics. As head coach I take responsibility for losing the game.”
Both teams made two changes to their starting line-ups.
Vietnam brought in defenders Nguyen Van Bien and Tran Dinh Dong to replace Au Van Hoan and the injured Dao Van Phong.
For the Philippines, Jason De Jong replaced skipper Caligdong while Patrick Reichelt, playing with several broken teeth after a training ground injury, came in for Guirado.
The opening exchanges were fairly even although Vietnam had an early chance with a close-range shot from Le Tan Tai, but ‘keeper Eduard Sacapono saved comfortably.
Both sides were struggling to find their rhythm but Vietnam’s Pham Thanh Luong displayed some nice touches with his cultured left foot.
Vietnam’s Huynh Quoc Anh beat the offside trap in the 23rd minute but his shot went straight at the keeper.
Philip Younghusband battled hard up front for the Philippines and he had his team’s first chance in the 23rd minute but his shot was comfortably saved by Duong Hong Son.
For his efforts Younghusband also received a yellow card for simulation after going to ground too easily.
Pham Thanh Luong remained Vietnam’s livewire and in the 30th minute he came close with a shot from just outside the area which sped past the right post.
At the other end Philip Younghusband continued to work hard but could only muster a couple of half-chances.
Paul Mulders, who scored against Thailand in the opening match, came closest for the Philippines when his cross-cum shot in the 42nd minute was tipped over the bar by Hong Son.
That was the last of any serious goalmouth action in a largely forgettable first half.
Vietnam began to slowly build up the pressure and in the 58th minute Le Tan Tai fired in a good effort from outside the area but unfortunately it was straight at the keeper.
Despite dominating possession Vietnam were not creating any real chances and slowly allowed the Philippines back into the game.
In the 66th minute Wolf came on for Philip Younghusband and almost immediately the Philippines attack appeared more threatening.
Also adding some venom to the Philippines front line was substitute Guirado. Playing out on the right he caused all sorts of problems for the Vietnam defence which was showing signs of tiring.
In the 81st minute Guirado went on a great run, cutting in from the right, and after forcing his way into the area was unlucky to see his goal-bound shot hit a Vietnam defender on the ground.
But four minutes later it was a different story. Out on the right Guirado spotted Caligdong in space on the left. His pin-point cross was beautifully controlled by Caligdong who turned and blasted the ball home with his left foot.
Vietnam were not going down without a fight, however, and within a minute Le Tan Tai blasted the ball against the Philippines bar from close range.
That was to be Vietnam’s last real chance and the Philippines hung on for a precious victory, prompting understandable celebrations at the final whistle.