Hanoi, Vietnam: Vietnam joined Malaysia in the final of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup after a 2-1 second leg victory over the Philippines in Hanoi on Thursday gave them a 4-2 aggregate win in their semifinal.
Two late goals from Nguyen Quang Hai and Nguyen Cong Phuong were enough to send Vietnam, 2-1 ahead from the first leg on Sunday, to their first final of the Southeast Asian biennial tournament since winning the trophy in 2008.
Under former England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Philippines rarely looked like overturning the deficit from the first leg and fell at the semifinal stage for the fourth time in the last five editions.
In front of 40,000 fans in Hanoi, Vietnam made most of the running and had most of the chances but were unable to add to the two goals scored in the first leg until seven minutes from time.
After the two strikes in quick succession, James Younghusband pulled a goal back for the Philippines with a minute remaining.
Vietnam, led by South Korean coach Park Hang-seo, will be favourites to become regional champions for the second time although Malaysia pulled off a surprise result and eliminated defending champions Thailand in Bangkok on Wednesday.
The two teams met in the group stage in November with Vietnam defeating Malaysia 2-0 in Hanoi.
The first leg of the final will take place in Kuala Lumpur on December 11 with the return match scheduled for Hanoi four days later.