Coach Park Hang-seo’s men will face much sterner tests in their two upcoming Group G fixtures than the young Indonesians offered, but can still take confidence from comfortably dispatching a much inferior side at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
The Vietnamese players celebrate one of their four goals against Indonesia. Photo bongda24h.vn
Indonesia offered little other than a succession of wild challenges and could count themselves fortunate to go into the break with 11 players after a late lunge over the top of the ball from Pratama Arhan Alif in the 23rd minute should have seen him receive his marching orders, but the referee was unmoved.
The turning point came in the 35th minute as Luong Xuan Truong replaced the injured Nguyen Tuan Anh in midfield and gave Vietnam a lot more thrust going forward.
Truong clipped the bar with a long-range shot early on in the second half, which proved to be a portent of things to come for Indonesia.
The opening goal came just five minutes into the second period as Nguyen Tien Linh latched onto a ball over the top by Nguyen Phong Hong Duy and though his first shot was blocked, he managed to fire the rebound in off the post and past goalkeeper Nadeo Argawinata.
Indonesia’s players protested that Linh controlled the ball with his hand to no avail, but they could have no complaints about the second goal.
Nguyen Quang Hai's strike in the 61st minute was typical of the pint-sized playmaker at his scintillating best. The Hanoi FC man picked the ball up outside of the area and drilled a low, rasping drive into the bottom corner of the net which two goalkeepers couldn’t have stopped.
The third goal was bundled home from close range five minutes later by substitute Nguyen Cong Phuong after the forward latched on to Linh’s headed flick-on from a corner.
Indonesia’s Egy Maulana rattled the bar in the 70th minute with a thunderous drive from range, though on the balance of play Bui Tan Truong would have been unlucky to lose his clean sheet on a night he had virtually nothing to do.
The fourth and final goal in the 73rd minute was the pick of the bunch and a fitting reward for a solid performance from Vu Van Thanh. The full-back was played in down the right by Trường and had the composure and skill to cut inside and curl an unstoppable shot into the far corner of Argawinata’s net.
Despite the comfortable win, Vietnam did suffer a blow as Hai's early, and it must be said foolish, yellow card means he will miss Friday’s encounter with Malaysia, while Anh limping off will also be a concern.
In Group G’s other match on Monday night, the UAE beat Thailand by three goals to one, putting them just two points behind Viet Nam in Group G.
Coach Park’s men will take on Malaysia next on Friday night, before what is shaping up to be a hugely important clash with the UAE on June 15