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Thailand U23 v Vietnam U23

AFF U23 Championship: Thailand gunning for second championship against beleaguered Vietnam

12:11 PM GMT 25/02/2022
Nguyen Van Tung Anusak Jaiphet U23 Vietnam U23 Thailand 2022 AFF U23 Championship
Vietnam would hope that at least a few of their players would be declared fit before the final

A boisterous Thailand will be clashing against a depleted Vietnam side in the final of the AFF U23 Championship at the Morodok Techo National Stadium, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The War Elephants have already won the championship in its inaugural edition in 2005, whereas Vietnam's best finish came in 2019 when they finished third.

The Nam Dinh's men would like to change the colour of the metal after winning the championship on Saturday but for that, they need to win the off-the-pitch battle against Covid-19. Several members of the contingent have been affected by the virus which has made them unavailable for participation.

Before the semifinal, only nine players trained with the coach and the Vietnam federation sent in an additional reinforcement of four players on Thursday morning to make the team eligible for participation in the last-four fixture. So the team management would be desperately hoping that at least a few players recover from Covid-19 so that they have proper bench strength in the final.

Dung Quang Nho, Nguyen Van Tung and a number of other important players were missed on Thursday. In their absence, Vo Nguyen Hoang and Vu Dinh Hai took up the responsibility to perform for the team. The duo was ably supported by the likes of Tran Bao Toan and Trung Thanh. They were undoubtedly the better team over Timor-Leste as they created numerous scoring opportunities. But their lack of finishing prowess let them down time and again.

Meanwhile, Thailand will be smacking their lips at this opportunity to take on a weakened Vietnam side. It was a professional performance from them against Laos as they showed no mercy while punishing their opponent's errors. Their three-pronged attack with Kroekphon Arbram and Niphitphon Wongpanya in the wide areas and Teerasak Poeiphimai in the middle will be a handful for Vietnam's defence to handle.

The wingbacks are equally proficient in carrying out their offensive duties which help them create a numerical advantage over their opponents in the attacking third. Meanwhile Sittha Boonlha, the defensive midfielder who would slot in as a defender when the wingbacks would leave their positions to join the attack.

This Thailand side looks well-drilled and knows how to play as a unit. The form of Poeiphimai is a bonus as the striker is leading the top-scorer rankings with three goals to his name. However, they should not make the mistake of taking Vietnam lightly due to their off-the-pitch issues. Despite the absentees, The Golden Star Warriors remain a daunting side and it would not be surprising if they get the top spot defeating Thailand.