The Suzuki Cup Group A showdown between two Southeast Asian giants ended in a stalemate as Vietnam drew 2-2 with Indonesia.
Tournament co-hosts Vietnam made things difficult for the visitors in the first half by playing fast-paced football and dominating possession. Indonesia held on defensively for the first 10 minutes, but Vietnam broke the deadlock in the 11th when Que Ngoc Hai capitalised on a defensive error by Sergio van Dijk.
After conceding the first goal, Indonesia were still unable cope with Vietnam’s pace, frequently making mistakes that cost them the ball. But in the 33rd minute, Vietnamese defender Dinh Tien Thanh made a rare blunder. He was unable to stop Zulkifli Syukur’s long pass, and Zulham Zamrun punished him by swiftly kicking the ball into the net and sending both teams into halftime with a goal each.
The second half showed few changes, with Vietnam still dominating but lacking a finishing touch. Vietnam coach Toshiya Miura made a tactical change just before the hour mark, substituting An Hai for veteran Lee Cong Vinh at forward. Not long after that, Indonesia swapped Boaz Solossa and Manahati Lestusen with Samsul Arif and Firman Utina.
Both switches bore fruit: in the 78th minute, Lee Cong Vinh scored a beautiful goal from outside the penalty area to put Vietnam back in the lead. But in the 84th minute, Indonesia broke the hearts of a boisterous home crowd when Samsul Arif scoring a goal from the close range, repaying the trust shown in him by coach Alfred Rield.
Vietnam pushed for a winner in the remaining six minutes, but were stymied by Indonesia goalkeeper Kurnia Meiga. With honors even at the final whistle, the 2-2 result leaves Indonesia and Vietnam tied in second place with one point each, and Philippines leading the group with three points after an emphatic 4-1 win over Laos.