Vietnam U23 immediately become the leader of the group After showing the most brutal form chasing Singapore U23 With a score of 7-0 in the AFF U23 Championship 2022 group stage, Group C at the Prince Stadium, Phnom Penh.
It was one-way traffic in favour of Vietnam right from the first whistle. The gulf in quality between the two sides was evident and Dinh Nam’s men took just three minutes to score the opener. Pham Van Huu was the architect behind the move as he sliced open Singapore’s defence with a through ball for Dung Quang. The skipper burnt his pace to show a clean pair of heels to the two centre backs and after dragging them to the right side of the penalty box he put in a cross that was headed home by Van Tung.
Vietnam’s scathing pace was too much to handle for the opposition and they made the most of it by mostly operating through the flanks. They kept piling pressure on Singapore’s backline and in the 29th minute they almost had their second but for keeper Ridhwan Fikri who somehow stopped a fierce attempt from Mai Xuan. However, the Golden Star Warriors did not have to wait long to get their insurance goal with Van Huu once again in the thick of things. The midfielder drilled in a low cross towards the edge of the box from the baseline which fell at the feet of Dinh Xuan. The midfielder set himself up for a volley with a deft first touch and then rifled in a shot that rippled the net.
The onslaught continued and five minutes later Vietnam sealed the match with the third goal of the evening. Skipper Quang spread the play to the right flank for Mai Xuan to take control and the winger after weighing up his options slide in a pass in the path of Tran Van. The defender ran with the ball towards the baseline and then cut in at the nick of time to set up Van Tung who made no mistake to poke the ball into the net from close range.
Singapore started the second half with a bit more intent and purpose as they started to probe Vietnam’s backline. However, the newfound vigour soon fizzled out as the men in white regained control of the match. Singapore’s misery seemed to have no end as they shot in their own foot while trying to play out from the back. The goalkeeper played a feeble pass to Saifullah Akbar who was quickly closed down and robbed of possession by Dinh Xuan. The loose ball fell for Quang who scored with the entire goal to aim at.
Despite having a healthy advantage on the scoreboard, Vietnam were relentless in their pursuit of the fifth. And in the 78th minute, Ngoc Thang breached Singapore’s resistance just three minutes he came on to the pitch after he latched on to a low grounded cross from Quang Nho.
In the 90th minute, Nguyen Quoc did all the hard work as he dribbled past a couple of defenders but was denied by Fikri with a brilliant save. However, the rebound fell for Nguyen Thanj who blasted a shot into the roof of the net to make it 6-0. Singapore’s shoulders had dropped but Vietnam showed no mercy as they scored their seventh of the night in additional time through Vu Tien Long.
With this loss, Singapore are out of the tournament having been defeated in both their matches. But Vietnam have all to play for on the final group stage matchday when they will be clashing against Thailand on February 22 for a place in the knockouts.
Credit Photo : Kem Sovanna