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Vietnam erupts in celebration as SEA Games hosts win football gold

Hanoi (AFP) – Thousands of people waving flags poured into the streets of Vietnam’s capital Hanoi and other cities after the SEA Games hosts beat fierce rivals Thailand 1-0 in the men’s football final on Sunday.

Defending their football crown from the 2019 Games, the home team came out on top of a tough match in front of a capacity 40,000 crowd at Hanoi’s rocking My Dinh stadium.

Forward Nham Manh Dung was the home hero with an 83rd-minute header that arrowed into the top corner, sending the already boisterous crowd into a frenzy, blasting air horns and waving flags and flares.

Downpours had drenched Hanoi all day, but that did not dampen the enthusiasm of red-clad spectators who began arriving for the clash several hours before it began in an effort to grab a prime seat.

As kickoff approached, the streets of the usually traffic-choked capital became relatively light as many locals were glued to TV screens in their homes and restaurants.

At a square in the city’s Old Quarter, thousands of people gathered around a screen set up by authorities to watch the game.

They were not to be disappointed and the stadium, Hanoi and other cities including Ho Chi Minh erupted as the home team held on for a narrow, nervy win.

“Vietnamese people are passionate about football and this SEA Games is organised in our country, so this victory is very meaningful and brought national pride and happiness to Vietnamese people,” said local Hanoi resident Nguyen Duc Huy, 27.

Vietnam’s women’s team also won gold on Saturday for a prized footballing double for the hosts.

Earlier on Sunday, on what was the last day of competition at the Games, Singapore’s badminton world champion Loh Kean Yew had to settle for silver in the men’s final against Thailand’s rising star Kunlavut Vitidsarn.

The 21-year-old Kunlavut won gold with a shock 21-13, 21-13 victory.

The women’s singles final was an all-Thai affair, with Pornpawee Chochuwong defeating Phittayaporn Chaiwan 21-14, 21-16.

Chen Tang Jie and Peck Yen Wei won mixed doubles gold in an all-Malaysian final, while the women’s doubles crown went to Apriyani Rahayu and Siti Fadia Silva Ramadhanti of Indonesia.

Leo Rolly Carnando and Daniel Marthin, also from Indonesia, won men’s doubles gold.

Hosts Vietnam easily led the medal count with 205 golds, followed by Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore.

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