Vietnam opened the door to the SEA Games' semi-final round after their 2-0 victory over East Timor on Nov. 9 at Jakarta's Lebak Bulus Stadium.

Vietnam with seven points from three matches returned to the top position in group B.

Vietnam , despite many attempts, found no way to get close to East Timor's net during the first half. The team, favoured as titleholders, was dominated by the islanders, who stand lower in the world ranking.

Their power was reduced at the 21st minute when Murilo Ribeiro de Almeida, their most important forward, was sent off after a direct red card because of a hit to Vietnam's defender Nguyen Ngoc Anh.

The turning point of the match came at the 51st minute when Nguyen Trong Hoang tore keeper Emerson Carlos Cesario's net with a close-range shoot.

Hoang received a long pass from Song Lam Nghe An team-mate Au Van Hoan. He managed it into the box. His first shoot touched Cesario and bounced back, but the midfielder did not miss it in the second time.

Ten minutes after his assistance for the opening goal, Hoan had his own goal. The right defender controlled a ball passed by Hoang and tapped it to Cesario's right corner.

The result would have been better for Vietnam if their forwards had done their duty. Nguyen Van Quyet, who scored a goal for Vietnam in the first match against the Philippines, missed at least three chances when he was in face-to-face with Cesario.

And his teammates Nguyen Thanh Luong and Nguyen Van Thang failed to score accurately.

"Vietnamese players wasted many good opportunities at goal. They could not play as well as they did at the local clubs," said Phan Anh Tu, general secretary of the Hanoi Football Federation.

"It seemed that they were strongly affected when Myanmar won over Brunei and took the group leading position. The pressure to return to the top was too heavy which made them play worse than expected," Tu said.

In the next match, Vietnam will play Brunei on November 12 while East Timor face Laos one day later./