Vietnam through to AFF C’ship final after beating Indonesia 2-0, Latest Singapore Football News - The New Paper
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Vietnam through to AFF C’ship final after beating Indonesia 2-0

HANOI – Nguyen Tien Linh powered Vietnam into the final of the AFF Championship, after he scored both goals in their 2-0 win over Indonesia in the semi-final second leg on Monday night for a 2-0 aggregate victory.

The first leg last Friday in Jakarta had ended goal-less, handing the Indonesians a slight advantage if they could get the crucial away goal at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

But they were immediately on the back foot from the first whistle and Linh needed just three minutes to put the hosts in front.

The striker, who started the night as the Mitsubishi Electric Cup’s joint-leading scorer alongside Thailand’s Teerasil Dangda with five goals, latched onto a brilliant long ball into the box from midfielder Do Hung Dung.

Linh controlled it perfectly even as the Indonesian defenders crowded him, before slamming the ball past goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata.

It was the Golden Star Warriors’ 13th goal of the tournament, but more significantly, this was their sixth straight clean sheet of the 2022 edition.

They are the only team yet to concede a goal, a statistic that would have pleased head coach Park Hang-seo – who departs his role at the end of the competition – as much as the victories.

Despite having more of the ball – Indonesia had 52.5 per cent possession – the visitors struggled to carve out any real goalscoring opportunities. They ended the match with seven shots, all off target, while Vietnam were relentless in attack.

They had 11 shots in total, with five on target.

Vietnam, semi-finalists at the previous edition in 2021 after lifting the trophy in 2018, could not extend their lead in the first half.

But within two minutes of the restart, Vietnam were two goals up. The source was a familiar one, as Dung whipped in a corner which Linh connected with a bullet header that gave Nadeo no chance at his near post.

Even the normally stoic Park, who was appointed in September 2017 and besides the 2018 AFF title has also delivered golds at the 2019 and 2021 SEA Games, was caught up in the celebrations.

The South Korean, 65, jumped and danced with his bench, knowing his team were on their way into their fourth AFF final.

They will face either defending champions Thailand or Malaysia, who meet in the second leg on Tuesday night in Pathum Thani.

The Thais trail 1-0 after Faisal Halim’s winner last Saturday in Kuala Lumpur.

With the in-form Linh leading the line and a stubborn defence looking largely untroubled, it could be the perfect send-off for Vietnam and Park.

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