Vietnam beats Philippines 3-1 in SEA Games opener

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Vietnam's Under-23 national male football team came from behind to beat the Philippines 3-1 in the opener of the 26th South East Asian Games in Indonesia on Thursday.

The Vietnamese team launched a lot of attacks from the very beginning and created several clear scoring chances in the first half, but their finishing was not very good and Philippines' goalkeeper Roland Muller was in good form.

Meanwhile, the Philippines had only one clear chance and they took the lead after an unmarked Manuel Ott fired a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area near the end of the first half. Vietnam's central fullbacks Huynh Phu and Anh Quang were badly positioned to prevent the goal.

Vietnam's coach Falko Goetz made two changes to the front after the break and the Vietnamese attacks looked more dangerous.

Substitute midfielder Xuan Hieu's pass from the left flank was too dangerous and the Philippines' captain Matthew Hartmann's header beat their goalkeeper Muller from close range to score an own goal and also a leveler for Vietnam.

The Vietnamese attacks continued, and substitute striker Hoang Thien made it 2-1 for Vietnam with a nice tap after Muller punched the ball away, only to find an unmarked Thien near the edge of the penalty box.

As the match was drawing to an end, striker Van Quyet scored Vietnam's third goal after making a sharp turn to go round the Philippines' captain Hartmann and curling the ball into the net.

Vietnam's coach Goetz said, "I am pleased with the result but I couldn't believe that the Vietnamese players wasted so many chances. It will be very dangerous if they repeat such mistakes in the next games."

Coach Michael Weiss of the Philippines said, "The Vietnamese players didn't take their chances very well, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to avoid a heavy defeat. Also, our goalkeeper Muller played very well in this match.

"Our players tried their best but five of the players in the team just came to Indonesia yesterday, so they are not quite physically fit for the game. The Philippines will be different in the next match against Myanmar so that we can advance to the semifinals. I would like to congratulate Vietnam on their win. They deserved to win."

Vietnam's captain Pham Thanh Luong said, "Some of our players are new in the team and they were playing a big game, so they didn't feel comfortable in the first half. After the win over the Philippines, I believe we will play better in the coming games."

In their second match of Group B, Vietnam will clash next with Myanmar, who beat Laos 3-2 in a seesaw game.

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