Vietnam beat Thailand 1-0 Tuesday night to top group C and advance to the semifinals of the 2022 AFF U23 Youth Championship.
Despite having a depleted squad of just 16 players after several Covid-19 cases, Vietnam were able to get the better of Thailand, who were not affected by a similar crisis. In Vietnam’s lineup were three of the six additional Vietnamese players who arrived in Cambodia just six hours before the game.
Vietnam did not get off to a great start as Thailand pushed hard for the opener, but as the game progressed, they got better and seemed to have the situation under control from the 20th minute onwards.
The only goal of the match was an individual effort by Nguyen Trung Thanh. From a corner in the right flank, the young midfielder decided not to make a cross to inside the box and essayed a direct shot. The ball curled unexpectedly and the Thai custodian could not do much more than get a hand on it as it found the back of the net.
At the end of the first half, Thailand got their best chance to equalize. Kroekphon Abram sprinted down the right flank and passed it inside for Teerasak Poeiphimal, who was unmarked and in a really comfortable position to finish. However, his shot went over the bar.
In the second half, Thailand couldn’t generate enough pressure to find a goal. Some significant chances were created in the last 10 minutes, but Vietnamese keeper Trinh Xuan Hoang proved equal to his task.
As the leader of group C, Vietnam will face group A leader Timor Leste in the semifinals on Feb. 24.
Despite the 0-1 loss, Thailand also advanced to the semifinals as the best second-placed team. They will play group B leader Laos in the semifinals.
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