Vietnam beat Thailand 1-0 at King's Cup

By Staff reporters    JUN. 5, 2019

Nguyen Anh Duc's goal in the extra minutes earned Vietnam a long-awaited victory over their major rival.

Vietnam defeated regional powerhouse Thailand with one goal in the very last extra minute on Wednesday, reaffirming their AFF championship status and possibly securing their FIFA ranking.

In the fourth extra minute, forward Nguyen Anh Duc, 33, who came out of retirement to help the national team as Vietnam lacked a good striker, took a bullet header from Luong Xuan Truong's pass. Goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan threw the ball up, but not strong enough. It fell back down and received no obstruction from several confused Thai players.

Both teams had several shots on target during the game but failed to convert them into goals.

The victory was Vietnam's first against Thailand in national team level in 11 years.

Thailand is usually considered the strongest team in Southeast Asia.

With Vietnam claiming the AFF Suzuki Cup last December, and with Vietnam's U23 team beating Thailand's 4-0 at the 2020 AFC U23 qualifier last March, Thailand took the Wednesday game seriously. They were all offensive, pushing the game to tense moments several times, resulting in five yellow cards withdrawn for both teams.

King's Cup is a friendly tournament, but fans have looked at it as a big test for Vietnam, and they've passed it. Vietnam will play Curacao, who beat India 3-1, in the finale on June 8. Thailand and India will clash in a third-place match the same day.

The tournament's results are important to Vietnam's FIFA ranking: 98th overall and 16th in Asia with 1,227 points. Their upcoming opponent Curacao are ranked 82.

If Vietnam can maintain their position until the World Cup qualification draws start, they have the chance of being grouped with equally strong or weaker opponents.

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