Despite conceding first, Vietnam came back strong to win 2-1 against Philippines in SEA Games 31 match on Wednesday.
Not Thailand, Philippines are considered the toughest opponent that Vietnam have to face on their journey of defending the gold medal in this SEA Games. With many new additions from abroad, Philippines have reached the semifinals of Asian Cup this year and qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup. Therefore, Vietnam coach Mai Duc Chung has prepared the strongest lineup for this match.
Philippines didn’t hesitate to push forward and they had an early chance when Sarina Bolden received a through ball and faced goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh, who was quick to narrow down the shooting angle and saved the shot. Vietnam responded immediately in the 13th minute when Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung sprinted down the flank and passed it to Huynh Nhu, but the forward couldn’t reach the ball for a tap-in.
Two minutes after the miss, Vietnam conceded. From a cross of Malea Cesar, Rivera Annis got header and beat keeper Kim Thanh despite getting one hand on the ball.
After that, Vietnam gradually controlled the game thanks to the solid midfielders. They created chances by passing the ball to the wingers, which caused trouble for the big but clumsy defenders of Philippines.
From one of those chances, Vietnam equalized. In the 38th minute, Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy set up Tran Thi Thuy Trang in a position to finish. Although Trang’s shot was blocked by keeper Olivia Davies-McDaniel, the ball found Tuyet Dung and she tapped it in.
The pressure still stayed the same after the equalizer, as Vietnam continuously threatened the opponent with their dangerous shots. Philippines would have been crumbled if the referee didn’t blow the whistle to end the first half.
The break helped Philippines regain their composure when they played pressing, which reduced Vietnam’s pass accuracy. But when Philippines were getting back in form, they conceded another goal.
From a play on the right flank, Pham Hai Yen passed inside for Huynh Nhu, who passed back to Thuy Trang to finish. She calmly made a turn to remove Philippines defender before shooting into the far corner to make it 2-1 for Vietnam.
In the last 20 minutes, some Vietnam players were nearly out of stamina and the team got pressed again, but the score remained until the end.
Vietnam will play the next game with Cambodia on May 14.
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