Vietnam are the defending champions of the category while Indonesia are the runners-up after the final at the 2019 SEA Games had ended 3-0 in the Philippines in the former’s favor.

Both sides played it safe in most of the first half, during which nothing was remarkable but six yellow cards were equally shared by each side.

The two teams held each other back to a goalless draw by the interval.

Just nine minutes after the restart, Nguyen Tien Linh tapped in Le Van Do’s cross from the left flank to open the score for Vietnam.

Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Linh celebrates their first goal in their opener against Indonesia in Group A of men’s football at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games  at Viet Tri Stadium in northern Phu Tho Province, Vietnam, May 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnam’s Nguyen Tien Linh celebrates their first goal in their opener against Indonesia in Group A of men’s football at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at Viet Tri Stadium in northern Phu Tho Province, Vietnam, May 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The second goal came 20 minutes later as Tien Linh assisted Do Hung Dung, who finished in style.

As the Golden Dragons got more confident, they scored the third goal in the 88th minute.

After Le Van Xuan dribbled and finished off the bar, Van Do made a shot from outside the box that went in to goalkeeper Adi Satryo’s surprise.

Indonesia could make no changes in the four added minutes and saw Vietnam get off to a great start with the 3-0 victory.

The results put Vietnam second in the standings, behind the Philippines, who thrashed Timor Leste 4-0 in Group A’s opener earlier on the same day.

Vietnam's Do Hung Dung celebrates their second goal in their opener against Indonesia in Group A of men’s football at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games  at Viet Tri Stadium in northern Phu Tho Province, Vietnam, May 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Vietnam’s Do Hung Dung celebrates their second goal in their opener against Indonesia in Group A of men’s football at the 31st Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at Viet Tri Stadium in northern Phu Tho Province, Vietnam, May 6, 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The fixtures of Group B, which includes Singapore, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Cambodia, will commence on Saturday.

The 31st SEA Games will take place in Hanoi and 11 neighboring provinces and cities from May 12 to 23, with some events set to commence a few days before the opening ceremony, including men’s and women’s football, kickboxing, diving, futsal, and Kurash.

The biennial event was originally scheduled to be held from November 21 to December 2, 2021 but was postponed after Vietnam saw a flare-up of COVID-19 cases in late April the same year.

The tournament will be attended by 11 delegations from Southeast Asian nations and consist of 526 categories in 40 sports.

Over 7,878 athletes, coaches, and members of the 11 sports delegations have registered for the event.

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