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Football Fans Pull Bão All-Nighter as Vietnam Wins AFF Cup Again After 10 Years

After an entire night of revelry, it still feels like a dream that Vietnam has once again claimed the top position in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Unless you were living under a rock, you'll be aware that last night, December 15, the national men’s football team of Vietnam made history by defeating Malaysia 1-0 in the home game of the finals and clinched the gold medal with an aggregate result of 3-2. Previously, the away match in Kuala Lumpur resulted in a draw.

The victory is especially meaningful, as exactly 10 years ago, also at Hanoi’s My Dinh National Stadium, Vietnam won their first gold medal, in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008. The only goal of last night’s match was scored by Nguyen Anh Duc from close range just six minutes into the game. After that, both teams struggled to score. Goalkeeper Dang Van Lam was also a hero of the match and performed exceptionally well in blocking several Malaysian scoring attempts.

When the referee signaled the end of the 90 minutes, the entire country broke out into cheers and tears of joy. Thus began an all-nighter for fans nationwide, who poured into local streets to đi bão. Public spaces like Saigon’s Nguyen Hue Walking Street and Hanoi’s Ho Guom area were packed with fans waving flags, dancing, chanting, lighting fireworks and singing patriotic songs.

A sea of people watching the match on Nguyen Hue Walking Street. Video by Michael Tatarski.

With the win, Vietnam will receive US$300,000 (VND7 billion) from the tournament organizers, while local companies and sponsors also showered the team and coach with prizes. Specifically, a local automobile company awarded VND2 billion to the team and US$50,000 for its South Korean Head Coach Park Hang-seo. A real estate company gave Nguyen Anh Duc, who scored the match’s only goal, a VND1.2 billion apartment.

2018 has been an outstanding year for Vietnam football. Under the guidance of Hang-seo, the national men’s team excelled at three regional tournaments. First, in January, Vietnam reached the final of the AFC U-23 Championship, beating much stronger contenders like Qatar and Iraq to become the first Southeast Asian team to make it that far. Unfortunately, the squad lost to Uzbekistan during an epic snow-covered final in China.

In August, the team also made the semi-finals of ASIAD 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia, but lost to South Korea and eventually finished fourth.

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