Vietnam made a spectacular comeback to secure a 2-1 win over the Philippines in their first Group A match of women's football at the ongoing 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in northern Quang Ninh Province on Wednesday.
The Philippines were considered one of the toughest opponents Vietnam, the 2019 SEA Games champions, would take on as they sought to defend their gold medal at this year’s Games.
The Filipinas entered the match hoping to ride the high from their recent qualification for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Their first chance to score came in the eighth minute, when Sarina Bolden received a through ball and faced Vietnamese goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh, who was quick to narrow the shooting angle and bar the shot.
Seven minutes later, Vietnam conceded a goal when Tahnai Annis headed the ball past Kim Thanh.
Vietnam gradually regained composure and took control of the field, narrowly missing several chances until the 38th minute, when Philippine keeper Olivia Davies-McDaniel blocked a shot from Tran Thi Thuy Trang but Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung found the rebound and tap it in.
Vietnam fired several more shots on target during the first half of play, but McDaniel refused to let any into the net.
Finally, in the 50th minute, Thuy Trang took advantage of an assist from Cu Thi Huynh Nhu to push Vietnam into the lead with a second goal.
Despite their victory, the Vietnamese women rank second behind the Philippines in Group A due to the goal difference caused by the Filipinas' 5-0 win over Cambodia two days earlier.
Vietnam will play Cambodia on Saturday.
The 31st SEA Games are currently taking place in Hanoi and 11 neighboring provinces and cities.
The official duration of the Games is from May 12 to 23, but some events commenced a few days prior to the opening ceremony, including men’s and women’s football, kickboxing, diving, futsal, beach handball, rowing, and kurash.
The biennial event was originally scheduled for November 21 to December 2, 2021 but was postponed after Vietnam saw a flare-up of COVID-19 cases in late April the same year.
The tournament is attended by 11 delegations from Southeast Asian nations and consists of 526 categories in 40 sports.
Over 7,878 athletes, coaches, and members of the 11 sports delegations have registered for the event.