The Philippine Azkals fell to second place in Group A after falling to Vietnam, 3-1.
Host Vietnam managed to clinch a semis berth and steal away the top spot in Group A after beating the Philippines, 3-1, in the final game of the group stage in the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.
The Ao Do got things going early with Ngo Hoang Thinh rifling in a 35 yard strike to go up 1-0 in the ninth minute.
The Vietnamese squad controlled the pace for the rest of the half, playing stifling defense and not letting the Azkals orchestrate anything on the offensive side.
The lone close attempt from the Philippines in the first half came from striker Phil Younghusband, but it was off to the left of the goalpost.
In the second half, Vietnam struck early again, thanks to a Vu Minh Tuan goal in the 51st minute, and then following that up with a long conversion from Pham Than Luong in the 58th minute.
Paul Mulders, who came in for Mark Hartmann in the second half, tried to get the offense going for the Azkals, scoring the team’s lone goal in the match at the 59th minute.
The Azkals fought hard to get back in the game in the second half, but the Vietnamese squad’s speed and defense were just too much for the Philippines.
With the win, Vietnam moves ahead to take the top spot in Group A, finishing with two wins and one draw, good for seven tournament points. The Philippines finishes in second place with two wins and one loss, good for six tournament points.
Vietnam and the Philippines will both move on to the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup Semifinals, with their opponents to be determined by the remaining Group B matches on Saturday.
Thailand currently sits atop Group B with two wins and six points. They take on last seeded Myanmar in their last group stage game. Singapore and Malaysia will meet in an important match to decide who advances in the semis in Group B.
The Azkals return home for their semifinals game on Saturday, December 6. They take on the top seed in Group B at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium. Catch that game live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action 23.
Vietnam 3-1 Philippines (Ngo Hoang Thinh 9’, Vu Minh Tuan 50', Pham Than Luong 58’, Mulders 59')