Tue, December 30, 2008
Sports > Soccer

Vietnam win first int'l title

2008-12-30 03:39:31 GMT2008-12-30 11:39:31 (Beijing Time)  China Daily

Vietnamese soccer fans wave national flags while celebrating Vietnam's victory in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2008 soccer tournament, in Hanoi December 29, 2008. [Agencies]

Vietnam's Le Cong Vinh kisses the trophy after defeating Thailand to win the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 soccer tournament at My Dinh stadium in Hanoi December 28, 2008. [Agencies]

Thailand's goalkeeper Kosin Hathairattannakool (R) tries to catch the ball during their ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki 2008 final second leg soccer match against Vietnam at My Dinh stadium in Hanoi December 28, 2008. [Agencies]

Vietnam's Huynh Quang Thanh (2nd L) fights for the ball with Thailand's Nataporn Phanrit (R) as Vietnam's Nguyen Vu Phong and Thailand's Chonlatit Jantakam (2nd R) and Suree Sukha (C) look on during their second leg of the final match of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki 2008 soccer tournament at My Dinh stadium in Hanoi December 28, 2008. [Agencies]

Vietnam's Le Phuoc Tu (R) heads the ball as Thailand's Teeratep Winothai looks on during their second leg of the final match of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki 2008 soccer tournament at My Dinh stadium in Hanoi December 28, 2008. [Agencies]

HANOI: Vietnam scored a last gasp second-leg equalizer for a 1-1 draw with Thailand to clinch the Southeast Asian championship for the first time on Sunday.

With the match tied 2-2 on aggregate and seconds away from extra time, the dangerous Le Cong Vinh leapt high above the Thai defence to head home Nguyen Minh Phuong's free kick and spark ecstatic scenes across Vietnam.

Tens of thousands of people poured onto the gridlocked streets of Hanoi, waving flags, sounding horns and beating together pots and pans in wild celebration of the country's first international title.

"I'm so happy and we have a huge, huge party now," Vietnam's Portuguese coach Henrique Calisto told Reuters while mobbed by raucous fans.

"I'm not surprised, we gave everything we had. We fought hard and deserved this win."

Thailand, upset 2-1 in the first leg, had most of the chances and went ahead after 21 minutes when Teerasil Dangda beat goalkeeper Duong Hong Son to head Sutee Suksomkit's free kick into the net.

Defender Suree Sukha had his header well saved close to halftime and Hong Son was again called into action on 59 minutes when he pushed away Teerathep Winothai's low drive from outside the area.

Thailand paid dearly for their misfiring after conceding a disputed free kick deep into stoppage time when Vinh collapsed at the feet of Suree with no apparent contact.

Vinh buried Thailand's hopes of a fourth title when he flicked the ball into the top corner to stun the visitors and trigger mass revelry at a sellout My Dinh Stadium.

Thailand's English coach Peter Reid felt luck was not on his side.

"We were the best team but that's how it goes in football," Reid told Reuters.

"The players were brilliant in this tournament, I'm delighted with them. A bad refereeing decision in the last leg has cost us the title, but that's life, I can't complain."

(Agencies)

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