Vietnam beat Singapore to reach King's Cup final
BANGKOK, Dec 28 (Reuters) - A strike from frontman Le Cong Vinh eight minutes from time helped Vietnam to a 3-2 victory over Singapore on Thursday to set up a clash with hosts Thailand in the final of the King's Cup tournament.
After missing two clear chances in a minute, Vinh popped up unmarked in the Singapore area to slot home from seven metres to secure maximum points and a place in Saturday's final.
Thailand, who had already qualified for the final, drew 2-2 with Kazakhstan in Thursday's other game.
Vietnam struck first after six minutes when Phan Thanh Binh headed home a corner from the left by Nguyen Vu Phong.
Singapore responded seven minutes later when Daniel Bennet's thunderous free kick went through the wall and into the bottom left corner.
Despite needing only a draw to reach the final, Vietnam continued their attack and restored their lead on 52 minutes when Phong's close range effort was deflected in.
Singapore levelled again when the unmarked Fazrul Nawaz headed home Shi Jia Yi's cross, before Vinh sealed victory.
Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl said he was pleased with the performance but knew his side will be underdogs in the final.
'They (Thailand) have a big advantage because their top players have been rested,' he told reporters.
'We deserved the victory today, but we should have been two goals ahead. We had a little luck too.'
The Thais made five changes to the team which beat Singapore on Tuesday, although evergreen striker Kiatisak 'Zico' Senamuang kept his place in the starting 11 following his recall after an absence of almost three years.
Thailand went two up before Kazakhstan came storming back for the draw.
'The fans knew why we drew, we needed to rest our players for the final,' Thai coach Charnwit Pholcheewin told reporters.
'We expect the final to be a difficult game.'