Le Cong Vinh made all the difference for Vietnam when he set up one and then grabbed the other for them to beat hosts Thailand 2-1 in the first leg final of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 which was played at the Stadium Rajamangala.

In a match which the pundits had already felt should got to the Thais, the visiting Vietnamese side played a patient game as they defended as a team before scoring both their goals just before the break off Nguyen Vu Phong in the 42nd minute and then Cong Vinh two minutes later. Thailand replied through substitute Ronnachai Rangsiyo in the 75th minute.

In front of well over 30,000 fans and also the attendance of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vechacheeva spurred Thailand to go into the early attacks as they welcomed the return of Sutee Suksomsit from injury where in the eight minute, his freekick came off Vietnam defender Le Phuoc Tu. A minute later, a corner from the left saw Nataporn Phanrit heading straight to Vietnam keeper Duong Hong Son as Sutee was again in the thick of the action four minutes later with a header which was parried out of play.

Vietnam was content to play the waiting game and following and as the frustration on Thailand grew, the visitors went ahead in the 40th minute when Cong Vinh broke through for a cross which was put into the back of the net by Vu Phong. And two minutes later, Cong Vinh finally scored his first goal in the competition when he picked up a pass from Nguyen Viet Thang to slam home.

Thailand started the second half stronger and created several chances on a trot with Surat Sukha unleashing a cracker in the 65th minute which was blocked by Hong Son. The introduction of Ronnachai for the ineffective Teerathep Winothai turned the game for Thailand when he scored Thailand’s first goal in the 75th minute with his very first touch following a cross from the left from Natthapomg Samana. suzukicup.com

Next fixtures,
28/12/08 19:00 Final Leg 2
Vietnam v Thailand


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