Vietnam down Azkals, reach AFF Cup final
MANILA, Philippines — There was no second coming of the famous “Miracle in Hanoi” for the history-chasing Philippine Azkals this time against Vietnam.
Seeking to recreate their 2010 upset of the Golden Dragons in the Vietnamese capital and grab a breakthrough finals stint in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup, the Azkals fell short as they suffered a disastrous 1-2 setback in the second leg of the semis last night in front of 40,000-strong crowd at My Dinh Stadium.
Counting their 1-2 setback in the opening match last Sunday over in Bacolod, the Pinoy booters lost the semis tie on goal aggregate, 2-4, to crash out of the gold medal match.
Nguyen Quang Hai (83’) and Nguyen Cong Phuong (87’) struck late to lift the Golden Dragons to the championship round versus Malaysia, which dethroned Thailand on away goals following a 2-2 stalemate in Bangkok last Wednesday.
Sub James Younghusband scored a consolation goal in the 89th minute for Phl, which needed to beat Vietnam by two goals in Hanoi to steal the finals berth.
The Azkals, who missed two more players in their 18-man roster as keeper Michael Falkesgaard and midfielder Manny Ott sat it out due to injuries, controlled possession at 54.7 percent but couldn’t seem to pull the trigger, managing to take only three attempts in the must-score, must-win outing.
The Golden Dragons, who could have lost by one and still advance, actually posed more danger in the final third, launching 10 shots, four of them on target.