Vietnam defeated hosts Philippines 2-0 on Thursday night to advance to the final in women’s football, where they will clash with archrivals Thailand, at the ongoing 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
The defending champions dominated the game from kick-off, but only managed to score goals in the second half.
In the fourth minute, Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Thi Binh Thuy penetrated the penalty area and aimed for the far corner, only to miss the post.
Nine minutes later, Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung delivered a volley just outside the box but her goal was denied by a remarkable save from Filipina goalie Inna Palacios.
The Philippines’ first clear opportunity came 26 minutes into the game, when their star forward Sarina Bolden broke free from a Vietnamese defender to face goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh in a one-on-one situation, but she couldn’t send the ball past the opposing goalie.
Another chance was awarded to Vietnam in the 34th minute, but forwards Pham Hai Yen and Huynh Nhu failed to touch the ball in from a clear cross from Bich Thuy.
Thuy had another opportunity to bring Vietnam to a lead in the 45th minute, but her powerful shot was also stopped by Palacios.
Both teams entered half-time at 0-0 on the scoreboard.
|Vietnam's Pham Hai Yen (L) shoots at the goal in a women's football semifinal against the Philippines at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines, December 5, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The Golden Girls’ relentless attacks from the beginning of the second half paid off in the 60th minute, when midfielder Thai Thi Thao netted a cross from Duong Thi Van.
Filipina forward Del Campo sent the ball into Vietnam’s net 13 minutes later, but her goal was disallowed as she was offside.
Tuyet Dung sealed the fate of the match on 84 minutes by scoring Vietnam’s second goal from a four-women attack piece that neutralized the Philippines’ defense line.
|Two Vietnamese players celebrate after scoring a goal for Vietnam against the Philippines in a semifinal of women's football at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines, December 5, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Vietnam will play the final game on Sunday against Thailand, who defeated Myanmar 1-0 in the other semifinal which took place at the same time.
It will be a rematch for the archrivals, who drew 1-1 in their group-stage opener last week.
The two teams had finished level on ten points after the round-robin matches in the 2017 SEA Games hosted by Malaysia, but it was Vietnam that claimed the tournament’s title thanks to a better goal difference.
Vietnam and Thailand currently dominate the Southeast Asian women’s football scene with five SEA Games championships each after ten tournaments before this year’s event.
|Vietnamese players celebrate after defeating the Philippines 2-0 in a semifinal of women's football at the 30th SEA Games in the Philippines, December 5, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
The SEA Games are a biennial event governed by the Southeast Asian Games Federation under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.
The first edition was held in 1959 and it has since grown to be one of the region’s largest sporting events, hosting athletes from the 11 countries in Southeast Asia.
This year’s SEA Games, in their 30th edition, are organized in the Philippines from November 30 to December 11, with athletes competing in 530 events across 56 sports.
Vietnam’s delegation to the 2019 SEA Games consists of 568 athletes competing in 43 sports.