Southeast Asia

Tien Linh At the Double as Golden Dragons Shoot Down Timnas Garuda

Becamex Binh Duong ace Nguyen Tien Linh was the star man for Vietnam as his two goals helped the Golden Dragons to a 2-0 win over Indonesia in Monday’s 2022 AFF Championship semifinal second leg at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

With the first leg back in January 6th at Jakarta ending in a goalless stalemate, the tie was poised beautifully as Indonesia pay Vietnam a visit for the return leg.

Much of buildup for the second leg was aimed at the disappointment of Indonesia head coach Shin Tae-yong and the general Indonesian public regarding the attitude of Vietnam’s Doan Van Hau, who committed several bookable offences that were overlooked by the referee in the first leg. Things got so vitriolic that Indonesian fans stormed Van Hau’s Instagram, whose comment section was pre-emptively closed by the Hanoi FC defender right after the first leg, which prompted the angry Indonesia supporters to invade Hanoi’s official Instagram as well as the Instagram account of Van Hau’s wife.

There’s also the psychological warfare between Tae-yong and his Vietnam counterpart Park Hang-seo, with Tae-yong stating that Indonesia are finally “on the same level” with Vietnam to which Hang-seo retaliated by asking Tae-yong to prove his words on the pitch.

As Vietnamese and Indonesian football fans “fought” on social media, tensions flew high as both the Golden Dragons and the Timnas Garuda stepped onto the My Dinh pitch on Monday.

And almost immediately Tae-yong and the Indonesia supporters were made to eat their own words in the third minute after Tien Linh took advantage of a Nadeo Argawinata mistake to score the opening goal of the tie.

Escaping the clutches of Jordi Amat and Rizky Ridho, Tien Linh spotted a static Nadeo standing still at his post, before he quickly unleashed a low drive that caught the Bali United goalkeeper off-guard.

The rest of the first half saw Indonesia being completely gridlocked by Vietnam, with Asnawi Mangkualam being completely isolated by Vietnam’s relentless control over the midfield. Tae-yong’s decision to replace Rachmat Irianto with Saddil Ramdani in his starting eleven proved pivotal as Asnawi was deprived of the defensive support usually provided by Irianto.

Indonesia also allowed themselves to fall into Vietnam’s constant provocation, with the Timnas Garuda solely focused on Van Hau without realizing that they had fallen into his, and to an extent Vietnam’s, trap.

With Indonesia in sheer disarray and playing poorly, Vietnam slammed home the nail in the Timnas Garuda‘s coffin in the 47th minute, thanks to a powerful header from Tien Linh.

It was an overall abject performance from Indonesia, with Tae-yong’s men failing to find a shot on target throughout the 90 minutes as Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam was rendered a mere pedestrian in the match.

Things got heated again in the 60th minute after Indonesia midfielder Marc Klok refused a handshake from Van Hau, who had earlier drew Klok’s anger following his foul on Asnawi. Persib Bandung midfielder Klok argued with both the referee and Van Hau following the foul and while the situation was brought under control by the referee, the two men clashed once again in the hour mark with Klok falling to the ground following a slight nudge from Van Hau’s shoulder.

Van Hau attempted to shake Klok’s hand in an attempt to make amends, but the Dutch-Indonesian midfielder refused the gesture, sparking more tension between the two sides.

A deserved victory for Vietnam meant that they will face defending champions Thailand in the 2022 AFF Championship final, with the first leg to be held on January 13th at the My Dinh.