Vietnam entered the semifinals of AFF U23 Championship after beating Philippines 1-0 in the second match of group C on Tuesday night.
Head coach Hoang Anh Tuan made eight changes compared to the starting lineup in the 4-1 victory over Laos on Sunday, given that even a two-goal defeat would ensure a place in the semifinals for Vietnam. However, Vietnam's reserve players still managed to edge out Philippines.
Nguyen Huu Tuan finishes and scores the only goal for Vietnam against Philippines in AFF U23 Championship on August 22, 2023.
The only goal of the match was scored by midfielder Nguyen Huu Tuan in the 18th minute.
With the 1-0 victory, Vietnam clinched the top spot of group C and will meet the top team of group B, Malaysia, in the semifinals.
The new lineup saw Vietnam entering the game with caution and not playing well. There was no synergy among the attackers and they often made failed passes. The defense was not under much pressure because the opposing team also had a lackluster performance.
Vietnam were still able to break the deadlock in that circumstance thanks to Tuan's goal. Receiving Nguyen Dang Duong's well-timed pass, Tuan finished accurately from the edge of the box and beat goalkeeper Dimitri Macapagal.
In this match, Vietnam goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan’s performance was inconsistent with poor timing and positioning. Philippines had two chances from Chuan's errors, but Martin Merino missed both occasions.
In the second half, Philippines' stamina waned and they were unable to create good offensive plays. Meanwhile, Vietnam gradually put key players on the field but squandered many great scoring opportunities.
Substitute players like Khuat Van Khang, Nguyen Van Truong and Nguyen Quoc Viet helped Vietnam dominate in the late second half.
However, the highlight in the last minutes was heated moments between Van Truong and Justin Frias. These two players often clashed and provoked each other, resulting in yellow cards for both. On the touchline, coach Tuan expressed dissatisfaction when his player engaged in unnecessary scuffles.
The score 1-0 remained until the final whistle. Vietnam topped group C with six points after two wins. They will face Malaysia in the semifinal at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The other semifinal is between Thailand and Indonesia at 8 p.m. on the same day.
The tournament is held between Aug. 17 and 26 in Rayong, Thailand.