The “yellow stars” created a bunch of opportunities during the 90 minutes of play and successfully converted three of them into goals thanks to the brilliant efforts by Nguyen Tien Linh (39’), Nguyen Quang Hai (41’) and Phan Van Duc (61’).
Coach Park Hang-seo rested some key players, with Nguyen Cong Phuong, Luong Xuan Truong, Nguyen Van Quyet and Nguyen Anh Duc left on the bench. However, a lineup of quality players allowed the home side to produce a lopsided game against minnows Cambodia.
Shortly after the first whistle, Vietnam took control of the match with a series of shots towards the Cambodian goal, notably an eye-catching left-footed volley by Van Duc in the 15th minute that forced keeper Um Vichet to make a smart save.
Trong Hoang curled a strike over the cross bar from a distance of 20 metres ten minutes later before setting up Tien Linh to break the deadlock with an unstoppable close-range header a few minutes before half time.
Inspired by Tien Linh’s opener, the “yellow stars” needed only another two minutes to double their advantage. Hong Duy produced an excellent effort in the left wing, dashing through a Cambodian defender and returned the ball to Quang Hai who then drove a shot into the empty net to gift Vietnam a 2-0 lead into the break.
The first-half scenario remained unchanged in the second half, as the host team maintained their offensive pressure, with Tien Linh forcing Vichet to block another close-range header two minutes after the interval and Dinh Trong firing a strike over the cross bar in the next 11 minutes.
One minute after the hour mark, Van Duc scored the third goal for Vietnam. The Song Lam Nghe An forward turned around rapidly in the box and produced a dazzling finish, giving the Cambodian goalie no chance to respond.
With time running out, Park’s side created some more opportunities to score; however, the three-goal gap remained unchanged until the final whistle.
The convincing victory helped Vietnam round up their group stage campaign in a perfect fashion, topping Group A with ten points and being the only team to qualify for the knockout stage with a clean sheet.
In another match the same day, Malaysia thrashed Myanmar by three straight goals to settle for second place with nine points and book Group A’s remaining semifinal ticket.
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