KUALA LUMPUR ― Two-time champion Vietnam failed to take advantage of playing on home turf after managing only a 2-2 draw against defending champion Thailand in the first leg final of the 2022 Asean Football Federation (AFF Cup) at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam, today.
In fact, Vietnam had to come from behind to share the spoils with Vu Van Thanh saving the home team the blushes by scoring the equalising goal two minutes before the final whistle.
Vietnam started the match on an aggressive note with Pham Tuan Hai missing the target by inches in the 10th minute while Thailand striker Adisak Kraisorn pulled off a good save from Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam in the 14th minute.
However, 10 minutes later striker Nguyen Tien Linh gave the hostile local fans a good reason to cheer when his flying header from a Que Ngoc Hai cross found the net in the 24th minute.
Shocked by the goal, Thailand moved into top gear and nearly struck the equaliser three minutes later but Thailand skipper Theerathon Bunmathan’s freekick hit the crossbar.
Thailand continued their attacking prowess immediately after the second half had started and just three minutes later Alexandre Polking’s boys made it 1-1 through striker Poramet Arjvirai.
Theerathon, the architect of Thailand’s first goal, was once again involved in Thailand’s second goal when he put through Sarach Yooyen in the 63rd minute to put his team ahead.
With the match headed to a win for Thailand, Vietnam coach Park Hang Seo and the thousands of fans at the My Dinh Stadium erupted into a loud roar when Van Thanh struck the equalising goal in the 88th minute.
The draw will certainly provide a major advantage to Thailand when both teams meet again in the second leg final at the Thammasat Stadium in Pathum Thani, on Jan 16. ― Bernama