Match Report: Malaysia 1-2 Vietnam

Malaysia suffered a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semi final tie against Vietnam earlier today, leaving a massive dent on their hopes of making it to the finals of the competition.

Dollah raised a few eyebrows by dropping Gary Steven Robbat, with Hafiz Kamal starting in his place, while Muslim partnered Fadhli Shas in the absence of Shukor Adan.

But Vietnam started out as the brighter side, testing Khairul Fahmi on two separate occasions, both through their prolific forward Le Cong Vinh. That being said, Malaysia had the first say.

Safiq Rahim opened the scoring through a spot kick on the 13th minute after Vietnam player was adjudged to have ball handled inside the box. The goal sent Malaysian fans into raptures, but little did they know of what was coming towards them from that moment onwards.

Vietnam upped their tempo, and starting pushing hard on the offensive. The partnership of Fadhli Shas and Muslim seemed shaky throughout the game, and that offered Le Cong Vinh plenty of space. But more importantly, the impressive Van Quyet was also allowed time and space on the ball.

So their efforts eventually paid dividends as a swift counter attack from Vietnam allowed them to equalize through Huy Toan on the 32nd minute mark.

After the break, the Malayan Tigers regrouped and tried launching an offensive. Safee Sali was pushed further upfront, with Norshahrul playing second fiddle, though it didn’t matter much since Vietnam continued to dominate the tempo in the middle of the park. Azamuddin worked his socks off on the flanks, pumping in several balls into the box. Vietnam’s defence though, were on fire.

So when a side dictates the proceedings for majority of the game, it’s always inevitable for them to take the lead and Vietnam justifiably went ahead through the terrific Van Quyet, who slotted home on the 60th minute to make it 2-1 for the away side.

Dollah went on to make a few changes, bringing on Manaf Mamat as well as Indra Putra, which allowed them to pile the pressure in the last few minutes. But despite their best efforts, including a last gasp Indra Putra header, that missed the target by inches, Vietnam held on to secure an impressive win.

The win ensures Vietnam a comfortable second leg, where Malaysia will be forced to attack with everything they have, considering that the Golden Stars now have two away goals in the bag.

The second leg will take place in Hanoi, with kick off slated for the 11th of December.

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