Vietnam hammered Myanmar 7-1 in the Group B opener of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup 2010 in Hanoi on Thursday.
The big victory was a welcome surprise for home fans and pundits because the home team had won just two of last 14 matches that they played.
The team was also missing key players like Cong Vinh, Van Quyen and Viet Thang who are all nursing injuries and cannot participate in the tournament.
However, the reigning champs proved at Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium that they are still pretty strong and able to put up a strong defense of their title.
Substitute Anh Duc, 25-year-old striker from Binh Duong Province, had a field day with a brace and a pass to midfielder Trong Hoang who scored the sixth goal midway through the second half.
It augurs well for the team if his form keeps up and other strikers continue to score in coming games.
In the other Group B match, underdog Philippines came back to hold Singapore to a 1-1 draw at the My Dinh Stadium.
On Wednesday, Laos had held regional powerhouse Thailand to a draw while co-hosts Indonesia came from a goal behind to beat Malaysia 5-1 in their Group A opener.
The AFF Cup 2010, sponsored by vehicle manufacturer Suzuki and hosted by Vietnam and Indonesia, will end on December 18.