Azkals tournament dream shattered with second loss to Vietnam

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Photograph of today’s match action courtesy of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

A courageous performance wasn’t enough for the Philippines as the Azkals saw their AFF Suzuki Cup run come to an end in Hanoi.

Vietnam dealt the Philippines another 2-1 defeat today (Thursday, December 6) in the second leg of their semifinal tie before a crowd of 40,000 in the My Dinh Stadium.

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Eight years ago — in what became known as the ‘Miracle in Hanoi’ — the Azkals stunned the home side 2-0 in the same stadium, but they were unable to pull off the feat this time.

Two goals in the final seven minutes sealed Vietnam’s place in the final of the Asean Football Federation Championship as Park Hang-seo’s side secured a 4-2 aggregate win.

The Vietnamese, who were title winners in 2008, will meet Malaysia — who saw off defending champions Thailand — over two legs in the tournament final. 

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Vietnam were favourites to advance to the final after previously securing a 2-1 win in Bacolod in the first leg on Sunday. Despite needing to score at least twice, the Philippines rarely posed much of a threat to the young and highly talented Vietnamese squad.

Iain Ramsay had the Philippines’s only attempt on goal in the opening 45 minutes, with the Australia-born winger watching his long-range attempt fly just over the bar.

Nguyen Quang Hai went closest for Vietnam in the first half with an overhead kick that was saved by Azkals goalkeeper Patrick Deyto, but with just seven minutes left on the clock it was the midfielder who put Vietnam in front.

Phan Van Duc outpaced Amani Aguinaldo before squaring the ball to Quang Hai, who slotted home with ease from six metres.

Four minutes later Nguyen Cong Phuong added the second and, although captain James Younghusband scored in the final minute for the Philippines, it was too late for the underdogs.

Speaking after the match, he said: “I’m very proud of the team because everyone gave it their all tonight.”

The first leg of the final will be played in Kuala Lumpur on December 11, with the return in Hanoi four days after that. 

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