World Cup Qualifying Southeast Asia

The Usual Suspects Shine as Vietnam Thrash Indonesia

Vietnam took a step closer to advancing into the next round of World Cup qualifiers after soundly thrashing Indonesia 4-0 at the Al-Maktoum Stadium on Monday night. The usual suspects in Nguyen Quang Hai, Nguyen Tien Linh, Nguyen Cong Phuong and Luong Xuan Truong all shine as Park Hang-seo’s men brushed aside Shin Tae-yong’s youthful brigade.

Unlike Thailand who fielded their second-stringers in their match against Indonesia, Vietnam went all-out – the likes of Quang Hai, Tien Linh, Nguyen Van Toan, Phan Van Duc, and the defensive duo of Bui Tien Dung and Que Ngoc Hai were all present in the Golden Dragons’ starting lineup, while Hoang Anh Gia Lai duo Cong Phuong and Xuan Truong were plotted to become impact subs during the game.

Indonesia, on the other hand, started pacy wingers Osvaldo Haay and Yakob Sayuri, while the trio of Witan Sulaeman, Egy Maulana Vikri, and I Kadek Agung were benched.

The first half ended as a goalless affair. Favorites Vietnam took control of the game almost from the get-go however Timnas Garuda responded well in soaking up the pressure thrown at them. Indonesia were unable to craft many meaningful chances and the first half will be more remembered for the amount of fouls being dished out by the two sides.

Vietnam midfielder Nguyen Tuan Anh limped off with an injury in the 35th minute with Xuan Truong filling into the gap. The introduction of the HAGL midfield maestro enhanced Vietnam’s attacking ability for the remainder of the match.

Things start to fall apart for Indonesia in the second half. Becamex Binh Duong star Tien Linh managed to evade the Indonesian offside trap in the 50th minute, rifling a shot that was deflected back towards him by an Indonesian defender Arif Satria before lashing home the rebound past Indonesian goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata.

The Indonesian players protested the goal as they felt that the ball had struck Tien Linh’s hand after Arif had deflected it, however the referee stuck to his decision and even booked Nadeo for his protests.

Vietnam’s opener took away the winds from Indonesia’s sails and the Golden Dragons added to their advantage in the 61st minute. A short pass from HAGL’s Nguyen Phong Hong Duy was greeted by a powerful cannonball from Hanoi FC’s Quang Hai, with the ball being deflected by an Indonesian player into Nadeo’s goal.

Vietnam then made it 3-0 five minutes afterwards, with substitute Cong Phuong diverting a Tien Linh header after a corner into the Indonesia goal.

Indonesia substitute Egy almost reduced the deficit in the 70th minute after rattling Bui Tan Truong’s crossbar, however Timnas Garuda‘s misery were confounded in the 73rd minute. The HAGL connection worked its magic once again as Xuan Truong found Vu Van Thanh, who sliced open the Indonesian defense before smashing home a thunderbolt past Nadeo.

The heavy 4-0 defeat ensured that Indonesia would remain bottom of their World Cup qualifying group, while Vietnam only need four points from their next two matches against Malaysia and hosts United Arab Emirates to qualify into the next round.

Indonesia will play the UAE, who are in high spirits after beating Thailand 3-1 on Monday night, in their last qualifying match on June 12th.