Singapore: The AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 witnessed its first scoreless draw on Friday as Singapore held visitors Vietnam in their penultimate Group B outing at Jalan Besar Stadium to ensure three teams will battle it out for two tickets to the semi-finals on Matchday Five.

Vietnam probed for a winner throughout the 90 minutes, but Nguyen Hoang Duc’s strike from distance that hit the woodwork six minutes from the final whistle was the closest Park Hang-seo’s side came to breaching Hassan Sunny’s goal. 

Both Vietnam and Singapore now have seven points while Malaysia are one point behind on six. The Golden Star Warriors take on an already-eliminated Myanmar in Hanoi on Tuesday while Singapore will guarantee their place in the semi-finals if they avoid defeat in Kuala Lumpur against Malaysia.

Two-time champions Vietnam enjoyed more than three-quarters of the possession during the encounter, but the Singapore defence did well to limit the visitors from having many clear sightings of the goal. 

Nguyen Van Quyet’s header from a Do Hung Dung cross landed on the roof of the goal in the 21st minute before captain Hung Dung himself had a go from distance three minutes later only to see his effort whistle past the woodwork. 

Singapore were consigned to sit back and break on the counter for much of the game and striker Ilhan Fandi shot wide from one such rare foray forward by the home side in the 26th minute.  

However, Singapore head coach Takayuki Nishigaya’s problems were compounded when 20-year-old Ilhan went down clutching his knee towards the end of the first half and had to be substituted at the interval and replaced by Shawal Anuar. 

Park also made changes to his side, introducing Nguyen Quang Hai and Phan Van Duc as he looked for inspiration from the bench, and the former’s left-footed free-kick sailed over Hassan’s goal in the 63rd minute. 

Two minutes later, Hassan did well to deny Nguyen Tien Linh’s effort from the edge of the box. Tien Linh then set up Vu Van Thanh for a shot from inside the box in the 78th minute, but the wing-back saw his effort sail across the face of the Singapore goal. 

The 2018 champions were denied all three points by the woodwork in the 84th minute when Hoang Duc was afforded space and time by Singapore outside the box and his shot from distance rattled the outside of the right post. 

Singapore had a chance to turn a hard-earned draw into a win in second-half stoppage time when they were awarded a free-kick on the right side, but Zulfahmi Arifin's delivery was punched away by Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam as the sides shared the spoils.