HONG KONG, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Vietnam cruised to a 3-0 win over Laos on Thursday evening, laying down an early marker in their opening game of the biennial Asean Football Federation Championship.
Park Hang-seo’s side, who won the regional title in 2008 and are one of the pre-tournament favourites, were dominant against a Laos team that packed the defence and offered little in the attacking third.
Nguyen Cong Phuong put the visitors in front at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane 11 minutes into the game when he rifled a right-foot shot into the top corner from 12 metres out.
And, as the half-time whistle approached, Nguyen Anh Duc scored the second after Luong Xuan Truong’s initial effort from distance had come back off the post.
Nguyen Quang Hai’s curling free kick found the bottom corner of Saymanolinh Paseuth’s goal midway through the second half as the Vietnamese ensured they would top Group A after the opening round of matches.
Earlier in the evening, Malaysia opened the tournament with a 1-0 victory over Cambodia, also in Group A.
Norshahrul Idlan Talaha scored the only goal 30 minutes into the game when he headed home from eight yards after Syamer Kutty Abba’s driving run through midfield eventually allowed Zaquan Adha to send in a decisive cross.
The Malaysians face Laos on Monday while Vietnam’s next game is against the Malaysians on Nov. 16 in Hanoi.
Thailand will begin the defence of the title they have won twice in succession when they face East Timor in Group B on Friday, while Singapore host 2016 runners-up Indonesia. (Reporting by Michael Church; Editing by Kevin Liffey)