Football masterpiece of Pham Thanh Luong - AFF Suzuky Cup 29/11/2014

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Former champions Vietnam stormed into the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Friday after beating already-qualified Philippines 3-1 at My Dinh Stadium.

Goals from Ngo Hoang Thinh, Vu Minh Tuan and Pham Thanh Luong put Vietnam on easy street before substitute Paul Mulders pulled one back for the Philippines who showed little attacking threat for the opening hour.

The victory propelled the 2008 winners to top spot in Group A following an earlier 2-2 draw with Indonesia and a 3-0 victory over Laos. They will play the runners-up in Group B over two legs starting with an away game on December 7.

Philippines, who secured qualification with a game to spare after big wins over Laos (4-1) and Indonesia (4-0), will take on the Group B winners in Manila a day earlier.

Group B concludes on Saturday with defending champions Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar chasing the second qualifying spot after Thailand sailed into the semi-finals with a game to spare following wins over the Lions and Harimau Malaya.

Vietnam coach Toshiya Miura was pleased with his team’s performance but did not give them a perfect 10.

“I don’t think it was the most perfect game since I took over as coach,” he said. “When we were 3-0 up they had to play more clever. After scoring three goals I want four. (But when ahead) we lost a lot of balls in our own half.

“I am satisfied to get first place and to play the second leg of the semi-final in Hanoi. The next target is the final.”

Philippine coach Thomas Dooley said he was not surprised at the potency of Vietnam’s attack.

“I was not surprised that Vietnam played like this - they did it in the first game against Indonesia,” he said.

“Vietnam are a very good team - we would have liked to have played a more offensive-minded game and put more pressure on them but that is dangerous against a team like them (with such good players).”

Philippines made two enforced changes from the side that started against Indonesia in their last game, defender Rob Gier and striker Mark Hartmann coming in for the injured Juan Guirado and Patrick Reichelt respectively.

Miura shuffled the pack again with influential midfielder Nguyen Van Quyet and Thanh Luong returning to the line-up and captain Le Tan Tai dropping to the bench.

Talismanic striker Le Cong Vinh, who scored against both Indonesia and Laos, kept his place in an attacking formation.

There was an explosive start to the game with Cong Vinh fluffing his lines and then being booked within the first minute.

A long punt out of defence deceived Philippines defender Amani Aguinaldo leaving Cong Vinh in the clear but he failed to control the ball and was shown a yellow card for simulation after becoming entangled in the legs of Philippines ‘keeper Patrick Deyto.

Vietnam continued to press for an early goal and it came in the ninth minute when Deyto was slow to react to a long-range effort by Hoang Thinh and the ball found the bottom corner.

Cong Vinh was giving Aguinaldo a torrid time and there was a confident shout for a penalty in the 28th minute when he went down under the centre back’s challenge but the referee waved play on.

With half-time approaching and just one goal to show for their domination, Vietnam should have doubled their advantage. Cong Vinh cleverly beat his man on the left wing but his measured low cross was too near Deyto who denied two players waiting in the middle for a tap in.

Vietnam did grab their second goal five minutes after the break, Minh Tuan expertly controlling a through ball from Hoang Thinh and firing past Deyto.

Roared forward by a near capacity crowd, Vietnam underlined their superiority with a third goal in the 58th minute. Thanh Luong picked up a ball at the edge of the area and his dipping shot evaded Deyto’s despairing dive.

Philippines, who had shown little attacking threat, were sparked into life by the goal and substitute Mulders pulled one back when he neatly flicked home a cross from the right.

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