Vietnam book final showdown against Malaysia
Hanoi: Vietnam sealed their spot in the 2018 AFF Cup final after defeating the Philippines 4-2 on aggregate following a 2-1 win at the My Dinh Stadium on Thursday.
The win secured Vietnam a place in the two-legged final where they will face Malaysia at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on December 11 before hosting the return leg on December 15.
The Golden Dragons entered the match on the back of a slim 2-1 advantage from their first leg encounter against the Azkals last Sunday.
The 2008 champions got an early look at goal in the 11th minute when Nguyen Trong Hoang took a shot from a distance, but his effort sailed over the bar.
Vietnam were happy to sit back and soak up the pressure against their opponents but also managed to get in shots at goal.
The Philippines, who have never reached the final of the competition, came close to opening their account after Stephan Schrock picked out Reichelt's run with a superb pass. But the forward could not control the ball.
Philippines started the second half with purpose as they searched for goals and had their chance in the 56th minute off a free-kick. But the Azkals failed to find the target following Kevin Ingreso’s lacklustre effort.
Sven-Goran Eriksson’s men were awarded another free-kick in the 73rd minute but their efforts fell flat against a stout Vietnam defence.
The game came alive in the 83rd minute after Nguyen Quang Hai beat his marker to tap the ball into the net to put Vietnam 3-1 up on aggregate.
Park Hang-seo’s charges grabbed their second goal five minutes later after substitute Nguyen Cong Phuong dribbled his way into the box and unleashed an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Patrick Deyto.
Philippines responded immediately after substitute James Younghusband pounced on a loose ball in the box to pull one back for the visitors in the 89th minute.
It was, however, too late as Vietnam held on to win 2-1 on the night to advance into the final.
Photos: AFP, Asean Football Federation