An unforgiving Vietnam brushed aside Cambodia 4-1 at the Shah Alam Stadium yesterday evening to consolidate their hold on Group B in the 2017 Kuala Lumpur SEA Games football competition.
While this was Vietnam’s second win following their 4-0 smashing of Timor-Leste two days ago, Cambodia crashed to their second defeat after Tuesday’s 2-0 reverse at the hands of the Philippines.
Cambodia managed to keep Vietnam at bay for most of the first half but a minute into added time before the change of ends the momentum dramatically swung in favour of the 2015 bronze medallists.
After a string of passes on the way into the box, Dinh Trong nicely squared to Cong Phuang, who elegantly found the mark past Cambodian goalkeeper Oum Sereyrath.
There were a few spirited Cambodian countermoves but none could produce the finesse to seriously test the Vietnam defence.
With Vietnam exerting relentless pressure, the last 20 minutes of the half saw Cambodian resistance crumble.
A free-kick for Vietnam in the 71st minute meant serious trouble for Cambodia when an unmarked Quang Hai managed to deflect the ball through a host of legs, and four minutes later Cong Phuang almost tore the net with a fierce freekick.
Even as Cambodia were trying to get on terms with this sudden spurt of activity came another telling blow. This time Hou Tan Tai celebrating his free solo run into the box with a deft finish that left Sereyrath helpless.
With four unanswered goals weighing heavily, Cambodia stumbled upon a fortuitous penalty when a Vietnam defender had the ball hit his lower arm inside the box.
Nen Sothearoth converted the spot kick for a late consolation goal.
Cambodia will now face 2015 champions Thailand at the Selayang Stadium on Sunday at 3pm Cambodian time.
Meanwhile, Cambodia won its first medal in the 29th Games after taking bronze in chinlone.
Cambodia’s hopes of retaining the chinlone team gold they won two years ago in Singapore were shattered yesterday when Myanmar won gold and Laos took silver.