Hosts Vietnam beat Myanmar 5-1 in their opening match at the fourth edition of the Thanh Nien-sponsored International U21 Football Tournament at HCMC's Thong Nhat Stadium on Saturday.
The big win has brought the national U21 squad closer to a semifinal berth. There are only three teams in each group and the best two will advance to the semifinals.
However, things were not easy for the hosts as the score suggests. They took the lead after nine minutes, but the Myanmarese players fought back and scored an equalizer 20 minutes later, with Pyaye Phyo pouncing on an opportunity to get one past Vietnamese goalkeeper Thanh Diep.
Stung by the underdogs, the Vietnamese players began applying more pressure on their rival's defense with fast attacks. These efforts only paid off about midway through the second half when Myanmar started making mistakes.
First, defenders tackled Trong Phi in the penalty area, and Huu Phat scored from the spot to make it 2-1 for Vietnam.
This opened the gate for more scoring chances, three of which were taken.
Speaking after the match, Myanmar's U21 team coach Than Htike said, "The Vietnamese players were stronger. We tried our best but couldn't avoid conceding the goals.
"We will try harder in our next game against Thailand to leave a good impression on Vietnamese football fans."
Vietnam's U21 team coach Dinh Van Dung praised his players for their performance. "After this win, we will play even better in the clash with Thailand," Dung said.
At this year's event, four U21 teams from Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Myanmar are competing against Vietnam's U21 and U19 teams.
In the other group, Singapore and Malaysia fought to a 1-1 draw in their opening match on Saturday.