Vietnam sealed an easy 3-0 win against Cambodia in their final group stage match at the 2018 AFF Championship in Hanoi on Saturday, advancing into the semifinals as Group A leaders with four unbeaten games and a clean sheet.
Vietnam entered the match at the Hang Day Stadium with no pressure as Cambodia were already eliminated and the home side only needs one point to advance.
Most of the first 45 minutes was in fact played in Cambodia's half, but Vietnam failed to have any clear opportunities despite them employing a pressing tactic.
The Golden Stars finally took the lead in the 38th minute, when Trong Hoang made a forward run to take the ball from the right wing and performed a pass to Tien Linh in the box. Linh immediately jumped high to produce a header goal into the corner of goalkeeper Um Vichet’s net.
Only two minutes later, Hong Duy rushed into the penalty area from the left wing and passed the ball back to Quang Hai to score from a five-meter distance, widening the lead for Vietnam.
The two teams headed for the changing room at halftime with the two-goal difference remained for the home side.
|Vietnam players pay tribute of their first score against Cambodia to teammate Van Toan. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Vietnam continued to display a formidable performance in front of the home crowd in the second half, dominating possession and taking control of the game in more than the first ten minutes after halftime.
In the 60th minute, Quang Hai passed the ball from a middle attack to Van Duc in the 18-yard box. The 1996-born midfielder masterfully controlled the ball, before turning around to score the third goal for Vietnam.
The ball almost only rolled in the Cambodian side in the remainder of the game as Vietnam still sought for more goals.
Even though two Cambodian strikers entered from the bench in the latter part of the game, the away side could barely make Vietnamese goalkeeper Dang Van Lam move his hand.
The match ended with no more goals scored by either side.
|Vietnam and Cambodia players fight for the ball during their match at the 2018 AFF Championship in Hanoi on November 24, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Vietnam reached the semifinals as Group A leaders, with four unbeaten games and a clean sheet after the group stage. Vietnam routed Laos 3-0 in the tournament’s opener, before beating Malaysia 2-0 and drew Myanmar 0-0.
They will face Group B second-place finishers in the first-leg semifinal match on December 2. The Golden Stars will play the second-leg game at home in the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on December 6.
As Group B matches always take place one day after those in Group A, Vietnam will have to wait for the results of Sunday games to know their semifinal opponents, which can be either Thailand, Singapore or the Philippines.
In the other Group A game took place at the same time, Myanmar were beaten 3-0 by Malaysia, gifting the second semifinal ticket of the group to the latter.
The Golden Stars won the AFF Championship, contested by ten nations affiliated to the ASEAN Football Federation, in 2008 and are hoping to claim the second title after ten years.