Kwang Ninh – Just a few months ago, after a historic campaign to qualify for their first World Cup in Vietnam, head coach My Duk Chung announced his retirement later this year.
At the Cam Fa Stadium on Saturday, Chung celebrated like a young man when his women made the nation proud with their seventh SEA Games title, a record.
The head coach’s position has not yet been determined, but Chung’s legacy, set in a 1-0 victory over Thailand in the final of the 31st SEA Games, will forever remain in the hearts of the people of Vietnam.
Denying the expectations of the fans of a cautious final, Vietnam surprised the spectators with a quick attack.
When the clock shows just one minute and 30 seconds, the hosts introduce themselves as Nguyen Thi Van defeats two tall Thai defenders and throws a stunning header towards the goal that was only saved at the fingertips of goalkeeper Waraporn.
Five minutes later, captain Huin Nu got the ball from a cross on the right, surrounded by the Thais, to try his luck with a skillful volley that was again stopped by on-form Warporn.
Việt Nam has really shown a commitment to deal with their opponents, with opportunities after opportunities in all positions, from headers to long-range efforts.
Thailand were certainly not prepared for such an unstoppable attack, but as the five-time champions of the tournament, their mentality helped them survive the offensive wave and they defended strongly by offering dangerous counter-attacks.
The first half ended goalless, a relief for Mio Okamoto’s team.
With better gameplay and a crowd of over 16,000 fans beside them, Vietnam repeated their dominance in the second half. Only this time, the women of Mai Đức Chung were able to finish.
The goal came in the 60th minute after an outstanding performance by Duong Thi Van, whose tackle near the center broke the Thai attack in a golden counter-attack for Vietnam.
From the van’s legs, a great long pass was made, which defeated the entire Thai defense, and found Huin Nu, who arrived before Waraporn to advance there.
Just to beat the goalkeeper, Như’s exciting touch helped No. 9 catch a short break from Warporn before he threw it into the empty net.
After the goal, Mai Duke Chung changed tactics with substitution to strengthen his defense, while the Thais put their players ahead.
The final minutes of the match show why Vietnam was claiming the crown because the red women were great in both attack and defense, thwarting every Thai effort.
Eventually, the whistle blew, the crowd at Cam Fa Stadium exploded, and the hosts burst into tears of joy.
“Coach Chung encouraged us to stay together and do better in the second half. For us, unity is vital to winning such an important match. And he really inspired us, “said captain Huin Nu after the match.
“Winning at home is very special. It made us feel more determined to win this match as a gift to the fans who love and support us to this day. I want to thank everyone for such a great game, especially my team and fans who have supported us here and at home.
“I also wish the men’s team well in tomorrow’s final against Thailand.”
In the previous third place match, the Philippines made a great comeback to secure the bronze medal over Myanmar.
Leaving Vietnam with a batch of young talented players with experience playing abroad, the future looks promising for the women of Allen Stajcic.
As a result, Vietnam has maintained its dominance in the region’s largest sporting event, now winning seven finals.
The men’s final between Vietnam and Thailand will be held on May 22 at My Day Stadium.
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