MANILA, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Two goals from Phan Van Duc helped Vietnam beat the Philippines 2-1 on Sunday in the first leg of 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals.
In the clash at Pana-ad Stadium in Bacolod, the visitors scored the opener in the 12th minute thanks to Phan's long-range header. The Filipinos equalized in the very last minute of the first half after Patrick Reichelt converted from a cross by captain Phil Younghusband.
The Philippines, known as the Azkals, strengthened their attack in the beginning of the second half, but the Vietnamese restored their lead with Phan's second goal in the 48th minute.
The hosts searched for a second equalizer for the rest of the match, and came close a few times, although Vietnam also had several good chances to increase their lead.
"We played rather well, and I think the two goals we conceded were very unlucky. It is a pity but we still have 90 minutes to go, and we will do our best to try [to come back]," said the hosts' head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.
The Swede also praised Phan highly, adding that the 22-year-old striker has great potential.
The Azkals will now travel to Hanoi to prepare for the second leg against Vietnam on December 6.
The AFF Suzuki Cup is a biennial football competition organized by the Asean Football Federation (AFF), accredited by FIFA and contested by the national teams of Southeast Asia.
The ten teams in the 2018 Suzuki Cup are divided into two groups of five, with each team playing two home and two away fixtures. The knock-out stage played on a home and away format, with the tournament's two round robin finals set for December 11 and 15.