Reigning champions Vietnam found themselves hopeless against Indonesia as the two sides played out a scoreless draw in their Group B match at the delayed 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup at Bishan Stadium in Singapore on Wednesday evening.
Both teams put up a strong showing and walked away from the match with one point added to their tournament total.
Vietnam spent most of the first half of the match on Indonesia’s side of the pitch, but were unable to break past their opponents' strong defense.
Indonesia subbed in Evan Dimas at half-time in the hope of staging stronger offensive play, while Vietnam put striker Nguyen Tien Linh in for Nguyen Cong Phuong.
The Golden Stars almost scored time and time again throughout the second half, but lacked the accuracy to crack through Indonesia’s solid defense.
The match eventually ended 0-0, extending Vietnam’s 25-year winless streak against Indonesia in the AFF Championship.
The draw also left the fate of Group B very much in the balance before the final round of the group stage this weekend.
With seven points each, Indonesia currently top the standings thanks to a superior goal difference, while Vietnam follow in second.
The two teams will face Malaysia and Cambodia, respectively, in their final group-stage matches on Sunday.
While both sides only need a draw to book a spot in the semifinals, Vietnam’s task is expected to be somewhat easier considering Cambodia have already lost its opportunity to advance in the tournament.
Malaysia, with six points, are a fierce rival for Indonesia.
The ongoing AFF Championship, hosted by Singapore between December 5 and January 1, 2022, is the delayed organization of the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup, which was originally planned to take place at the end of last year but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The contestants have been divided into two groups.
Title defenders Vietnam, who claimed a 3-2 aggregate triumph over Malaysia in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup finale, were randomly selected for Group B alongside Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos.
Group A includes Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Timor Leste.
Thailand and Singapore already secured a berth in the semis with respective 2-1 and 2-0 wins against the Philippines and Timor Leste on Tuesday night.