Vietnam remain on course to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup after moving second in Group A with a 3-0 victory over Laos.
Having seen his side throw away a lead twice in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Indonesia, Vietnam boss Toshiya Miura opted to make five alterations to his starting XI and restored golden boy Le Cong Vinh, who netted an absolute stunner at the weekend.
His changes appeared to have done the trick as the hosts took the lead three minutes before the half-hour mark after Vu Minh Tuan showed excellent determination to meet Le Tan Tai’s visionary through-ball, and managed to stab the ball into the bottom corner at full stretch.
But while many would have expected them to push on in search of more goals, the Vietnamese instead decided to adopt a conservative approach as they preferred to retain possession and welcome Thim Xad forward.
They did create a number of openings but their lacklustre approach resulted in some sloppy play in front of goal, as Nguyen Anh Duc, Minh Tuan and Nguyen Van Quyet all wasted good opportunities.
Nonetheless, they did manage to double their lead in the 82nd minute when Tan Tai ran onto Minh Tuan’s incisive pass and although his shot was saved by Seng Athit Somvang, Cong Vinh was perfectl positioned to convert the rebound with a simple tap-in.
And just two minutes later, they went on to wrap up the three points with a third goal as Nguyen Huy Hung planted a first-time finish into the back of the net, after Van Quyet had done well to nutmeg Bounthavy Sipasong and whip a cross into this path.
The result meant that Laos are the first time to be eliminated from the tournament, while the Vietnamese only need a draw in their final game against leaders Philippines to book their place in the semis.
Laos: Seng Athit Somvang, Bounthavy Sipasong, Ketsada Souksavanh, Ketsada Souksavanh, Saison Khounsamnan, Saynakhonevieng Phommapanya, Keoviengpheth Lithideth, Phoutdavy Phommasane, Vilayout Sayyabounsou (Phoutthasay Khochalern 84’), Soukaphone Vongchiengkham, Khonesavanh Sihavong, Khampheng Sayavutthi.
Vietnam: Tran Nguyen Manh (Nguyen Thanh Binh 46’), Que Ngoc Hai, Dinh Tien Thanh, Le Phuoc Tu, Nguyen Van Bien, Vu Minh Tuan, Le Tan Tai, Nguyen Huy Hung, Vo Huy Toan (Pham Thanh Luong 74’), Nguyen Anh Duc (Nguyen Van Quyet 55’), Le Cong Vinh.