Vietnam crushed Cambodia 4-0 in the semifinals of men’s football at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines on Sunday to reach the final again after ten years.
The young Golden Dragons encountered the Angkor Warriors without the service of playmaker Nguyen Quang Hai, owing to a thigh injury he had sustained in Vietnam’s 1-0 victory over Singapore in the group stage on December 3.
Cambodia were off to a confident start, firing the first shot over the bar six minutes into the game at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.
Sin Kakada tried his luck again in the eighth minute, sending the ball over the goal one more time.
Park Hang Seo’s men were calm enough to neutralize most of the early attacks from their Cambodian opponents.
Four minutes after Cambodia’s Mao Piseth was shown a yellow card over a dangerous tackle against Nguyen Trong Hoang, forward Ha Duc Chinh sent a high ball from the right flank to Nguyen Tien Linh in the box.
Linh headed in neatly to put Vietnam in the lead on 20 minutes.
The same striker missed another chance one minute later in the Cambodian penalty area.
He was injured after this and was replaced by Truong Van Thai Quy in the 45th minute.
Chinh had netted Vietnam’s second goal in the 26th minute, following a long ball from behind and his speedy race against Yue Safy from the midfield.
Felix Dalmas’ Cambodia conceded the third goal in the 45+2nd minute, when Chinh’s close-range header from Quy’s cross found Keo Soksela’s net.
There was no comeback in the second half, as Chinh finished his hattrick with a delicate touch from a corner kick on 68 minutes.
Cambodia failed to score a consolation goal from the spot in the 94th minute, as goalkeeper Nguyen Van Toan blocked the spot kick by Keo Sokpheng.
Vietnam will play Indonesia, who defeated Myanmar 4-2 after 120 minutes in the other semi on Sunday, in the final on Tuesday next week.
The Vietnamese last reached a SEA Games men’s football finale in 2009, when they were beaten 0-1 by Malaysia, with an own goal by a defender in the 85th minute.
In men’s football, 11 participating Southeast Asian countries sent under-22 players to compete in the tournament, with two overage footballers allowed on each 20-member team.
The Vietnamese have been striving for a gold medal in men’s football since at least 1975.