The hosts defeated East Timor 4-1 at the Hang Day Stadium with goals by Huynh Tan Sinh, Nguyen Tien Linh and Tong Anh Ty.
East Timor’s sole goal went to Walter Gama in the last few minutes of the game. Vietnam, which had disappointed with a draw in the first round against Singapore, put up a strong performance in the second match.
It needed only 13 minutes of warm up before opening its score card.
Sinh’s powerful header in front of the net was too hard to be saved for goalkeeper Augusto Da Silva, who had earlier avoided a goal loss by Vietnamese Viet Anh when referees did not recognise his ninth-minute finish.
The opener helped the hosts, who had wasted many chances in the previous game, to become more confident. They spent another 13 minutes to make it 2-0.
Midfielder Minh Di assisted his teammate Linh for the second time. Linh was rested two days ago and scored from a header which went to Da Silva’s left corner.
East Timor, who beat the Philippines 2-1 in the last game, rose up in the second half, but it also gave the Vietnamese a chance to score two more goals.
Phan Thanh Hau made a powerful shot from the centre, which made Da Silva work hard, but failed to manage the ball. Ty immediately caught the bounced ball and netted it exactly.
Ty went on to boost the result further with a straight shot to the far corner just one minute before the end.
East Timor’s effort came with additional time when they narrowed the result. Gama made use of a misunderstanding between Vietnamese goalie Tien Dung and midfielder Tan Sinh to steal the ball and scored his first goal in Hanoi.
In an earlier match during the day, Malaysia were off to a romping start when they outplayed the Philippines 5-0.
It was Malaysia’s first game in the group, while for the Philippines; it was their second loss after the close 2-1 defeat from Timor Leste two days earlier.
Mohamad Hariz Kamarudin and Muhammad Jafri Chew fired in the first half.
Muhammad Shah added the third goal from a penalty before wrapping things up through substitute Mohamed Syamer Kutty Abba and Badrul Amin Rusalan, who scored the fourth and fifth goals, respectively.
The win pushed the Malaysians to the second position with three points.
In the Group B activities on September 12, Australia was made to slog before it pulled off a lucky 2-0 win over the resilient Cambodian side.
In the meantime, Thailand scored a goal with the help of Supachai Chaided right at the hour mark to bag their first win after beating Laos 2-1 in an earlier match.