Monday, December 6, 2010

Philippines 2 Vietnam 0: Vietnam humbled by resolute Philippines

Hanoi: The Philippines recorded the biggest upset in the history of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Sunday evening as Simon McMenemy's side handed defending champions Vietnam a 2-0 defeat in their Group B encounter at My Dinh Stadium.

Chris Greatwich and Phil Younghusband scored a goal in each half to give the unfancied Filipinos the greatest result in the country's recent history and leave them on the verge of qualifying for the semifinals for the first time.

The win follows fast on the heels of a 1-1 draw with Singapore in their opening game and moves the Philippines to the top of the standings with one round of matches remaining.

After a tame start it was the Philippines who went closest to opening the scoring when, the 18th minute, the Vietnamese defence failed to clear Phil Younghusband's corner and the ball fell at the feet of Ian Araneta, but his shot was only good enough to clip the outside of the post.

That scare woke the home side out of their early slumbers but, fortunately for the Filipinos, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge was on hand to keep out Pham Thanh Luong's effort a minute later.

An elementary error by the Fulham goalkeeper, however, almost resulted in disaster for the Philippines moments later when Etheridge handled the ball outside his penalty area and, from the resulting free kick, Nguyen Minh Phuong curled a free kick around the defensive wall that went just wide of goal.

With seven minutes remaining in the half, the Philippines stunned the Vietnamese when Anton del Rosario crossed for Greatwich to claim his second goal of the tournament, a diving header that was somehow miss-read by Duong Hong Son.

Vietnam could find no way through the well-drilled Philippine defence throughout the rest of the half and, as the second period began, Henrique Calisto's team became increasingly desperate.

Nguyen Vu Phuong shot just wide from the edge of the area in the 56th minute while Rob Gier deflected Nguyen Anh Duc's effort wide four minutes later. Substitute Nguyen Trong Hoang, meanwhile, forced a fine save from the imposing Etheridge just two minutes after his introduction.

But, with 11 minutes remaining, the Philippines managed to put the result beyond doubt when, with Vietnam committing men forward, Phil Younghusband led a break that resulted in the former Chelsea trainee stepping inside the home defence and curling a low shot beyond Hong Son.

The goal silenced the 40,000 capacity crowd at My Dinh and, as supporters poured out of the stands and into the streets Pham Thanh Luong hit the woodwork as Vietnam's desperation continued right until the final whistle.

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup


Historic victory leaves McMenemy bewildered

Hanoi: Philippines coach Simon McMenemy was in a state of disbelief after seeing his team hand defending champions Vietnam a stunning 2-0 defeat in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Sunday evening at the My Dinh Stadium.

Chris Greatwich and Phil Younghusband scored the goals as the Philippines claimed their greatest win in recent history and remarkably moved to the top of the group standings ahead of Singapore on goal difference.

"I'm pinching myself, I'm not sure we have done what we have done," said McMenemy. "I keep thinking I'll wake up in bed in the Sheraton hotel and we'll still have the game to play.

"We knew we could defend, we knew we were disciplined enough but we didn't know if we could go up the other end and score goals. We knew that would be our issue so we worked hard in training on simple things like converting breakaways when we are on the run."

McMenemy hailed his team's performance but admitted to being bewildered by the result.

"I came in here the other day and said I was proud of my boys, but I don't know how we've done that," he said.

"That was an incredible feat considering they are the Philippines and where they have come from. To go and turnover a powerhouse like Vietnam is incredible.

"We rode our luck throughout the game but I said to the guys at halftime: 'You have to keep putting yourself in a position for good things to happen to you and you have to keep working hard'.

"If you keep working hard the luckier you get. We had three chances and scored twice. This won't sink in for quite a while."

Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto was angered by the nature of the Philippines' win and was heavily critical of the style of play used by the Filipinos.

"Football is not this, football is not putting eight players in front of the area with no offensive system," said the Portuguese coach. "They were fighting and I respect the players but if you think this is football then you are wrong.

"My way is different. You can play and lose but you can lose with honour. They put the bus in front of the goal and shoot, shoot, shoot and they pray. They didn't have an offensive system.

"I told my players that the Philippines defend very well but they don't care about counterattacking, they only pay attention in defence. Until you score one goal, our job is very difficult and I told the players that.

"If you look at possession of the ball, if you look at shots, if you look at crosses maybe there was 70 or 80 percent for Vietnam and 20 or 30 percent for Philippines.

"If they think they can win the championship based on that then poor football. If the Philippines think they can win playing that way then my dear, poor, poor football in this region."

Source - AFF Suzuki Cup

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