Vietnam beat Singapore 6-1 in the opener of the 6th edition of the Thanh Nien-sponsored Under-21 International Football Tournament at Pleiku Stadium in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai Saturday.
The young Vietnamese footballers had practiced together for less than a week but they combined skillfully. Backed by around 10,000 supporters, the hosts took control of the game from the very beginning with attacking football.
They found the opener just five minutes into the game, striker Dinh Bao latching on to a super pass from a Phi Son-Dinh Hoang move.
Bao beat Singapore's custodian Syazwan Buhari again just minutes after the first goal. And again, it started from Phi Son, who controlled the ball perfectly on the left flank before sending a beautiful pass to Bao.
The hosts slowed down a bit but they still made it 3-0 before half time after Hoang Thinh scored from a penalty kick.
The Vietnamese footballers were still the stronger side after the break, but the spirit and determination of the Singaporeans earned them a goal in the 57th minute.
However, it was Bao's day. He scored two more goals to take his match tally to four before Huu Khoi made it 6-1.
The Vietnam Football Federation decided to reward the U21 players VND50 million (US$2,400) for their impressive victory.
Speaking after the game, Singapore's U21 team coach Robin Pradhan Chitrakar congratulated the Vietnamese. He said he hoped his players would learn something from the match to play better in the next games.
Vietnam's coach Dinh Van Dung said, "I'm very pleased with my players. They applied the strategies very well and their spirits were high. Some of the players are not so well today but they made big efforts to win the match."
In another game on Saturday, Malaysia beat Laos 4-2. The Lao players were on equal terms with the Malaysians for most of the match, but their lack of concentration in the final minutes cost them dear.