Suzuki Cup: Vietnam made to wait for semi-final berth after 0-0 Indonesia draw, Football News & Top Stories

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SINGAPORE – Tournament dark horses Indonesia put up a resilient display to hold defending champions Vietnam to a goalless draw in their Suzuki Cup Group B game at the Bishan Stadium on Wednesday (Dec 15) night.

The result sets up an intriguing final day of group-stage action on Sunday, with both teams and Malaysia all capable of finishing in the top two to progress to the semi-finals.

Indonesia and Vietnam are both on seven points after three games, with Malaysia on six.

If Malaysia beat Indonesia on Sunday and Vietnam fall to an improbable loss to already-eliminated Cambodia in the other match played concurrently, the defending champions could exit the tournament on goal difference.

Last night, the gulf in quality between the two sides was clear but Vietnam, the only side in the 10-team Suzuki Cup, simply could not find a finishing touch for all their dominance.

It took them 28 minutes to register their first shot on target – a Nguyen Quang Hai effort from outside the box that went straight at Indonesian goalkeeper Ernando Ari Sutaryadi.

Vietnam put their opponents under so much pressure that three Indonesian players – Ernando and defenders Alfeandra Dewangga and Rizky Ramadhani – kissed the ground upon the referee blowing the half-time whistle.

Indonesia coach Shin Tae-yong threw skipper Evan Dimas on for ball winner Rachmat Irianto the start of the second-half, with the apparent gameplan to sacrifice physicality for creativity, but Vietnam picked up where they left off.

Nguyen Tuan Anh, Quang Hai and Nguyen Tien Linh all had sights of goal but were denied either by wayward shooting or Indonesian defenders throwing their bodies in the way.

The Indonesians endured a nervy end to the game but kept up their concentration and aggression to claim a precious point.

Analysis

Vietnam could have booked a place in the semi-finals of the Suzuki Cup to join Thailand and Singapore from Group A but the lack of a finishing touch means they now face the prospect of an unlikely early exit.

But that will only happen if they fail to beat minnows Cambodia – whom they have beaten in all eight previous encounters between the two teams – on Sunday.

Indonesia also showed substance and grit after easy wins in their first two games against Laos (4-2) and Cambodia (5-1), matching Vietnam for their speed and intensity, even if they did not offer much of an attacking threat.

In all likelihood, the winners of the Indonesia-Malaysia clash on Sunday will join Vietnam in the semi-final, and if the Garuda can repeat their performance against the defending champions, they look set for a place in the final four.