Vietnamese footballers came back from a goal down to clinch a 1-1 draw against Thailand in the opening match of the U19 Southeast Asian Open at HCMC's Thong Nhat Stadium on Saturday.
A rain that persisted all through the match made it difficult for both teams.
The Vietnamese players were superior early in the match, forcing their Thai rivals to play defensively. In the first half, the Vietnamese were close to scoring at least twice, with striker Dinh Bao hitting the bar in one instance.
After being put under a lot of pressure in the first half, Thailand's coach Chalermvud Sangnapol moved midfielder Ponlachai from the left to the right, focusing all attacks on Vietnam's left back Le Thai Quang.
The change proved effective as Thailand launched relentless attacks on Vietnam's left flank.
In a mix-up some five minutes from the break, Thailand took the lead after Vietnamese defender Van Nam scored an own goal, deflecting a shot from Thailand's Kharim.
The Thais continued their attack and had at least two clear chances to double the score even as the Vietnamese players struggled to recoup their defense.
With about 10 minutes to go from full time, substitute striker Van Thanh headed home an equalizer, boosting the home team's morale, but their inexperience stood in the way of being able to build up on the new momentum.
The Thai coach said it was a hard match for both teams but he was happy with the draw, while his Vietnamese counterpart, Trieu Quang Ha said some of his players "looked confused in this game.
"I hope it won't happen in the next game against the Republic of Korea," he said.
In another game at the July 24-28 football event, Australia beat the Republic of Korea 1-0.