MANILA, Philippines (Nov 4, 2011) - There was no repeat of the Philippine Azkals’ fairytale victory over fancied Vietnam in last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup, although for a while the Filipinos appeared on its way to an encore.
But the Vietnamese, runners-up the previous SEAG, did all they could to prevent another upset, frustrating the Filipino Under-23 booters with a come-from-behind 3-1 triumph kicking off Group B action at the cavernous yet nearly empty Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta last night.
Vietnam picked up three points from this win, leaving the Philippines with the task of earning theirs against Timor-Leste on Monday at the Lebak Bulus Stadium.
Seeking another reversal, Filipinos stunned the Vietnamese in the 37th minute when Fil-German Manny Ott, a last-minute participant, found the back of the net as the Pinoys relived memories of their Suzuki Cup contest.
This they did despite Vietnam getting possession 65 percent of the way in the first 45 minutes, both sides getting four shots at the goal.
Fourteen minutes into the second half, though, it was the Filipinos’ turn to get shocked.
Co-captain Matt Hartmann, attempting to a clear a cross from Vietnam, accidentally headed the ball in, giving the Vietnamese the equalizer on a silver platter.
That was what Vietnam needed.
Pressing the attack on the left side and playing dangerous formations inside the Philippines’ defensive third, the Vietnamese knocked down two more goals to put order into the match.
Substitute Hoang Thien, pouncing on a rather soft punchout by Phl goalie Roland Mueller, rolled the ball in to give Vietnam the upperhand in the 73rd minute.
Nguyen Van Quyet added insult to injury by eluding Hartmann to score their third goal two minutes in injury time for the final score.
Overall, Vietnam had 71 percent of ball possession with 10 shots on goal.
The Vietnamese could have actually scored more, if not for some excellent saves from Mueller throughout. (From Philstar.com)