Vietnam cemented their position as Group B leaders in the men’s football tournament at the ongoing 2017 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Malaysia after routing the Philippines 4-0 on Sunday.
With coach Nguyen Huu Thang sending his full quotient of substitutes into the game to test their strength, Vietnam struggled to break the Philippine defense for most of the first half.
It was not until the 38th minute that star striker Cong Phuong took the lead for his team after dribbling the ball through four defenders and giving goalkeeper Joyel no chance.
The opener seemed to release the pressure on the Golden Stars, with three more goals netted in the 45th, 50th and 89th minutes.
Cong Phuong scores the opener. VIdeo credit: VTV
Vietnam have now scored four in each of their three group stage matches at the SEA Games so far, trouncing Timor Leste in the opening game on August 15 and beating Cambodia 4-1 on August 17.
In the other Group B games on Sunday, Thailand defeated Cambodia 3-0, while Indonesia beat Timor Leste 1-0.
Vietnam are now confident ahead of their most important games with Indonesia this Tuesday and Thailand on Thursday. Thailand and Indonesia both have seven points after three games, two points behind Vietnam.
Vietnam will secure an early ticket to the semifinals if they beat Indonesia tomorrow.
However, football expert Vu Manh Hai said in a piece written to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the Vietnamese have shown signs of exhaustion after having to play three games in less than a week.
“This is the time when we need our two German physique experts to provide the most effective and scientific solutions to help the players regain their strength and stamina,” Hai said.