HANOI (5 Dec 2010) - Philippines created the biggest upset thus far in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010 when they beat defending champions Vietnam 2-0 in the second game of the second match day of Group B here at the My Dinh National Stadium.
The scorers for the Philippines were Chris Greatwich in the 38th minute and Philip Younghusband in the 78th minute which allowed the team to take control of Group B – ahead of former champions Singapore and Vietnam.
With just one game left against Myanmar to play for at the Hien Truong Stadium in Nam Dinh two days, the Philippines have just put themselves as the frontrunner to win the group this year ahead of their more illustrious counterparts.
“I’m still pinching myself; I still cannot believe that we have beaten the defending champions. I kept thinking that this is all just a dream and that I will wake up at the hotel with the match against Vietnam still to play for,” said a grinning Simon McMenemy, the chief coach of the Philippines.
“We showed that we could defend well although I was a little worried about our ability in catching them on the break. I told the lads before the match that we will have our work cut out but the boys were fabulous – we had three chances and we scored twice.”
With Singapore needing a last gasp goal before they were able to beat Myanmar in an earlier game, Vietnam were not leaving anything to chance as they pounded the Philippines backline right from the start.
The attacks were uncompromising against a Philippines defence bent on keeping everything at bay – much to the chagrin of Vietnam national coach Henrique Calisto as well as to the almost sell-out crowd who were expecting the home team to ride out to another big win.
Pham Thanh Luong, Nguyen Minh Phuong and Nguyen Anh Duc all had their chances but with Philippines custodian Neil Etheridge playing his best game thus far in the tournament, it was always tough to break the deadlock.
As Vietnam became increasingly under pressure, a quick counter attack in the 38th minute saw Philippines taking the lead instead.
Off a cross from Ian Araneta, it needed just a glancing header from Chris Greatwich to beat Vietnam’s Duong Hong Son for Philippines and the game's first goal.
Calisto brought in the enterprising Nguyen Trong Hoang at the hour mark and it almost paid the early dividend but for the continued heroics of Etheridge who once again thwarted the point blank shot from Anh Duc.
Trong Hoang were all over the pitch as he attempted to get closer and closer to adding to the two goals he scored in the match against Myanmar but for all his guile, the Philippines backline were just not giving any away.
And once again, it was to be the Philippines who found the back of the net when Philip Younghusband made good on the chance which came his way in the 78th minute of play.
“My players played well and I can’t complain because they played hard and they followed my instruction,” added Calisto.
“It was tough playing against a team which put a double-decker bus in front of you and then hope to catch you on the counter attacks – that is not football.”
PHILIPPINES Neil Etheridge, Robert Gier, Anton Rosario, Roel Gener, James Younghusband, Philip Younghusband (Nestorio Margase 85th), Alexander Borromeo, Jason de Jong, Christopher Greatwich, Ian Araneta, Ray Jonsson.
VIETNAM Duong Hon Son, Le Phuoc Tu, Tran Dinh Dong (Le Si Manh 71st), Vu Nhu Thanh, Nguyen Minh Phuong, Le Tan Tai (Nguyen Trong Hoang 63rd), Huynh Quang Thanh, Nguyen Vu Phong, Pham Thanh Luong, Phan Van Tai Em, Nguyen Anh Duc.
8 Dec Myanmar vs Philippines (1930hrs at Hien Truong Stadium, Nam Dinh) / Vietnam vs Singapore (1930hrs at My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi)