Vietnam booked their place in the semi-finals of the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup after finishing top of Group A with a 3-1 win over Philippines at the My Dinh National Stadium.
Although they needed only a draw to book their place in the last four, the hosts started Friday’s showing plenty of endeavour.
Just nine minutes in, they edged ahead when Ngo Hoang Thinh received possession 30 yards out and tried his luck with a powerful effort that slipped past Patrick Deyto into the back of the net
Vietnam then doubled their lead five minutes after halftime when Vu Minh Tuan produced a brilliant first touch to latch onto a long ball and accelerate past Daisuke Sato, before rifling a shot into the bottom corner.
The contest was then effectively over in the 58th minute when Pham Thanh Luong was left in space on the edge of the area, and proceeded to unleash a fantastic dipping shot that flew past Deyto at the near post.
Nonetheless, the Azkals did manage to grab a consolation less than a minute later when Jerry Lucena hit the byline and fired a cross to Paul Mulders, who met the ball with a deft finish into the far corner.
Still, Vietnam’s victory meant they were able to finish a point ahead of their opponents at the top of the table and will now meet the runners-up of Group B in the last four.
Meanwhile, Philippines will lock horns with the winners of Group B, which is likely to be a tough test against tournament favourites Thailand.
Vietnam: Tran Nguyen Manh, Que Ngoc Hai, Dinh Tien Thanh, Le Phuoc Tu, Nguyen Xuan Thanh, Nguyen Huy Hung, Ngo Hoang Thinh, Vu Minh Tuan (Nguyen Thanh Hien 90’), Nguyen Van Quyet, Pham Thanh Luong (Nguyen Van Bien 79’), Le Cong Vinh (Mac Hong Quan 82’).
Philippines: Patrick Deyto, Simone Rota, Amani Aguinaldo, Rob Gier, Daisuke Sato, Manny Ott (Chris Greatwich 87’), Jerry Lucena, Martin Steuble, Phil Younghusband, Misagh Bahadoran (James Younghusband 68’), Mark Hartmann (Paul Mulders 46’).