SINGAPORE: Thailand will take a 2-0 lead into the second leg of their Suzuki Cup semi-final against defending champions Vietnam after a first-half brace from Chanathip Songkrasin gave the five-time winners the upper hand in Singapore on Thursday.
The Consadole Sapporo playmaker was the difference between the teams and he has left Park Hang-seo’s side with a major challenge going into Sunday’s second leg if they are to keep alive their hopes of retaining the Southeast Asian title.
Chanathip put the Thais in front at the Singapore National Stadium in the 14th minute after defender Nguyen Phong Hong Duy stumbled deep in his own half and the Thai midfielder pounced to slot past Tran Nguyen Manh.
Nine minutes later the Thailand captain struck again, this time confidently applying the finishing touch to a flowing one-touch move that tore the Vietnamese defence apart.
Thailand are attempting to win the title for a record-extending sixth time while Vietnam have previously been crowned Southeast Asian champions twice before.
The winners will face either Singapore or Indonesia in the final. The pair shared a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their semi-final on Wednesday and will meet again on Saturday.
The tournament is being played on a centralised basis in a biosecure hub in Singapore as anti-Covid-19 measures put in place around the region saw organisers cancel plans to play matches on a home-and-away basis.
The current competition was originally scheduled to be played last December but was postponed because of the pandemic.
Source: Bangkok Post