Football Tribe SEA Editor
Curacao sealed the 2019 King’s Cup title in Buriram, Thailand after a hard-fought game against Vietnam, which was eventually decided on penalties after the side’s played out a 1-1 draw in regulation time.
After being left out from the start against Thailand, Nguyen Cong Phuong was one of Vietnam’s brightest lights in attack, getting on the end of a number of chances. However, the former Incheon United striker struggled to find the net.
Meanwhile, Curacao began the game with a much slower tempo, hoping that their possession orientated game could exhaust Vietnam by drawing them into pressing more aggressively. Excellent individual contributions from the defenders and goalkeeper kept the game scoreless.
Vietnam’s press receded after the opening half an hour, as they began to focus on protecting the center of midfield as opposed to a forward-orientated press. As a result, Curacao grew into the game and began to create more than their opponents by the half-hour mark.
However, it took until the 58th minute for Curacao to take the lead, as Ayrton Statie fired a shot from outside the box, beating Dang Van Lam on his right side as his shot curled inside the post.
The Carribean islanders then went mostly on the defensive, hoping to maintain their one-goal lead against a resurgent Vietnam.
However, their defensive approach backfired as Vietnam found an equalizer, when Tran Van Kien’s low cross was intentionally evaded by Nguyen Quang Hai, opening up space for Pham Duc Huy to hit the equalizer. The midfielder’s goal meant that the game would be decided by spot kicks.
Nguyen Cong Phuong was the first to miss for Vietnam, allowing their opponents to establish a 2-1 advantage. Both sides managed to score their next two goals, meaning that defender Jurich Carolina managed to wrap up the tournament and seal the 2019 King’s Cup title for Curacao.