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Vietnam start U22 AFF Championship with comeback win over Philippines

By Lam Thoa, Anh Le   February 17, 2019 | 05:55 pm PT
Vietnam start U22 AFF Championship with comeback win over Philippines
Striker Le Minh Binh celebrates after scoring the second goal for Vietnam against Philippines Sunday. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Le
A 2-1 comeback win against the Philippines helped Vietnam get three points in their opening game at the U22 AFF Cup in Cambodia Sunday.

Though considered the stronger team, Vietnam had a middling first half when their only strategy seemed to be crossing from the wings into the box.

But, though they created chances, the Vietnamese lacked accuracy.

In the 18th minute a Philippine defender made a mistake and put midfielder Tran Bao Toan in a great position to score, but he shot straight at the keeper. Forward Le Xuan Tu even missed an empty net in the 36th minute.

Five minutes into the second half, Jeremiah Borlongan scored off a freekick for the Philippines.

Vietnamese coach Nguyen Quoc Tuan made two substitutions, changed tactics and it worked. Vietnam switched from making ineffective crosses to short passes and got the equalizer in the 74th minute when substitute forward Tran Danh Trung scored from a tap-in.

The comeback was complete four minutes later when the other substitute, striker Le Minh Binh, scored off a corner.

After the game Tuan admitted that his team had not played well but pointed a finger at the conditions.

"The artificial turf and the hot weather here cost us too much energy.

"We controlled the game but our mistakes in defending saw us concede. Adjustments will be made so that players can adapt and play better."

The other match in group A ended with a 1-0 victory for Thailand against Timor-Leste.

Vietnam will take on Timor-Leste on February 19 and Thailand two days later.

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