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Vietnam 1 Singapore 0 - Vietnam bounce back to seal semi spot


08-Dec-2010
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Hanoi: Ten-man Vietnam booked themselves a place in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup as Nguyen Vu Phong's solitary strike earned Henrique Calisto's team a 1-0 win over Singapore at My Dinh Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Vu Phong's goal gave the Vietnamese their second win of the tournament and ensured the defending champions not only progress to the last four but win Group B ahead of the Philippines.

That sets up a semi-final clash with Malaysia while the Philippines, who drew 0-0 with Myanmar in Nam Dinh, will take on Indonesia.

The win was a major relief for the Vietnamese following their surprise 2-0 loss against the Philippines, which cast doubts over their ability to progress to the knockout phase of the competition.

But despite the worries, the home side started with intent, bursting out of the blocks with the boisterous capacity crowd behind them.

However, it was the Singaporeans who had the first real chance on goal when Aleksandar Duric found the side netting with his third-minute effort.

Just minutes later, though, the home side was pressing again, with Doan Viet Cuong looking like his shot was heading for the top corner only for Hassan Sunny in the Singapore goal to somehow push it wide while at full stretch.

Vietnam continued to attack in relentless white-shirted waves, with Viet Cuong regularly cutting inside form his position on the left and Nguyen Trong Hoang troubling the Singaporeans from the right.

Trong Hoang fired off several ultimately harmless efforts as Singapore sat back and tried to soak up the pressure, aiming to hit the Vietnamese on the break.

It was a policy that almost paid off in the 16th minute when Mohammad Shahril raced down the left before driving in a low cross that Vu Nhu Thanh narrowly avoided putting into his own net.

Vietnam pressed but remained susceptible to the counterattack and, just before the half hour mark, Agu Casmir should have put his side in front when left one-on-one with Bui Tan Truong, but the striker could only find the goalkeeper's hands.

In the 31st minute, Singapore were left to rue that miss as they were hit with a sucker punch of their own.

After Singapore lost possession at a corner, Vietnam hit hard and fast through Pham Thanh Luong and, with three home attackers bearing down on a solitary Singaporean defender, he was able to find Vu Phong with time and space to score.

Singapore came out in the second half looking for the equaliser and within five minutes of the restart Noh Alam Shah had gone close, heading across the face of the Vietnam goal.

Thanh Luong's effort, meanwhile, was just wide while Duric saw his shot saved from close range after Casmir's deflected effort fell into his path.

Vietnam's hopes were hit in the 63rd minute when Trong Hoang's two-footed stamp earned him a second yellow card, leaving Calisto's team to battle through the last quarter of the game with only 10 men.

Vu Phong had a chance to double his side's advantage just minutes later only to find the side netting but, as time ticked by, Singapore put more and more pressure on the Vietnam goal with Duric heading straight at Tan Truong with 10 minutes remaining.

Singapore continued to press without avail and the defending champions were able to hold on while three-time champions while Raddy Avramovic's side were left to wonder what might have been.