Vientiane: Vietnam proved their title credentials with a comprehensive and convincing 3-0 win over Laos in their 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup opener on Thursday.

Looking for their first AFF Suzuki Cup title since 2008, and just their second overall, Park Hang-seo’s side wasted little time asserting their control over the home side.

Luong Xuan Truong fired a warning shot from distance after just six minutes, and just five minutes later the visitors took the lead.

Nguyen Cong Phuong won the ball back on the touchline and played the ball to Doan Van Hau out wide. The defender whipped the ball into the box, and after the Laos defence failed to clear their lines, the ball was set up for Nguyen Cong Phuong to smash it home from just inside the area.

The visitors continued their dominance throughout the first half but they’d have to wait until the stroke of half time to extend their lead.

After failing to test the goalkeeper from distance early in the first half, Luong Xuan Truong forced Saymanolinh Paseuth into a fine save that rebounded off the crossbar into the path of Nguyen Anh Duc who made no mistake from close range to make it 2-0 to Vietnam at half time.

One of the standouts for Vietnam, Nguyen Quang Hai, forced another fine save from Saymanolinh early in the second half but he wouldn’t be denied second time around, with a beautiful curling free kick getting past the Laos custodian on 68 minutes to make it 3-0 for Vietnam.

Nguyen Cong Phuong was one of Vietnam’s best on the night, and he looked to have made it 4-0 and secured his brace only to be denied by an offside call from the assistant referee.

In the end it mattered little to the result of the game as Vietnam had already done enough to win the match and secure all three points.

Vietnam has the bye on Matchday Two, with their next match coming at home against Malaysia next Friday, while Laos must now travel to Kuala Lumpur to face Malaysia looking for the win to keep their hopes of a semi final berth alive.