Vietnam defeated Thailand on Sunday night to keep their crown in women’s football at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines.

Mai Duc Chung’s women toiled in 120 minutes before they could edge past Thailand, with the winning gold scored in the 92nd minute.

Thailand and Vietnam had already drawn 1-1 in the group stage.

Vietnam entered the game with the Thais at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila as the 2019 AFF Women’s Championship winners and the 2017 SEA Games gold medalists.

Vietnam pressed Thailand during the first ten minutes of the game, with Nguyen Thi Van’s shot from outside the box hitting the bar of the Thai goal six minutes into the game.

Given relentless pressure from the Vietnamese side, Thailand made an early substitution, fielding Taneekarn Dangda to replace Jaruwan Chaiyarak in the 27th minute.  

Thailand’s Kanyanat Chetthabtur was booked over a high boot on Vietnamese defender Chuong Thi Kieu on 35 minutes. 

The rematch went on in a tense fashion, as both sides tried their utmost to find the opening goal.

But the archrivals took a break at nil-nil.

Vietnam's Cu Thi Huynh Nhu handles the ball, surrounded by three Thai players in the finale of women's football at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, December 8, 2019. Photo:

Vietnam’s Cu Thi Huynh Nhu handles the ball, surrounded by three Thai players in the finale of women’s football at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, December 8, 2019. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Vietnamese supporters almost suffered a heartbreak when Taneekarn Dangda headed in a cross by Intamee Silawan from the left in the 51st minute.

However, the goal was disallowed as Dangda had been ruled offside.

Skipper Cu Thi Huynh Nhu nearly opened the scoring in the 72nd minute but her header from a cross on the right just failed to make a connection. 

As the game was going into the dying minutes, more and more Vietnamese players needed medical attention, having broken a sweat fighting against their arch-enemies.

Both teams had to play in extra time as no goal was netted in regulation time.

Just two minutes into the first half of the extra time, Pham Hai Yen headed home after a cross from Nguyen Tuyet Dung found her in the penalty area. 

This goal proved to be the winner for the Vietnamese women.

This is the sixth gold medal Vietnam have clinched in SEA Games women’s football, the other five in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2009, and 2017. 

Team Vietnam won 66 gold, 59 silver, and 78 bronze medals at the end of the competition day on Sunday, ranking second in the medal table after the host Philippines.

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