AFF Suzuki Cup, Featured, Football

#AFFSuzukiCup: Malaysia 0-1 Vietnam – Match Summary, Player Analysis

Malaysia’s hopes of progressing into the knockout stages of the Suzuki Cup have been handed a major blow after the succumbed to a narrow 0-1 defeat against Vietnam earlier today.

Having picked up three points against Cambodia over the weekend, Datuk Ong Kim Swee opted to name a more defensive-minded starting eleven against Vietnam – something that allowed them to keep their counterparts at bay until a minor lapse in focus allowed the impressive Nguyen Troang Hoang to score the winner on the 79th minute mark.

The tempo was rather predictable from the get go. Malaysia sat deep and allowed Vietnam to dominate possession for large portions of the match. However, possession didn’t quite translate into tangible chances for the Golden Stars.

The likes of Le Cong Vinh, Nguyen Van Quyet and Nguyen Troang Hoang consistently pushed to create openings, but a disciplined performance from Shahrom Kalam and Ronny Harun made it difficult for those lads to find space. In fact, both sides had two attempts throughout the first 45 minutes, despite Vietnam occupying 59% of the ball.

After the break through, Vietnam settled down and began coping with the heat – which allowed them to apply more pressure on Malaysia. The increased tempo forced Ong Kim Swee to introduce S. Veenod on the 59th minute to freshen up his midfield. The Tigers continued to sit deep and hold their fort, but all it took to completely erase their good work was a momentary lapse in concentration.

On the 79th minute mark, Troang Hoang found himself with the ball on the right edge of the box. But with no Malaysian defenders attempting to close him down, he practically walked and jinked past several players before comfortably slotting the ball past Khairul Fahmi to help his side seal a win and maintain their 100% record in the tournament.

Here are three players that impressed today!

Nguyen Troang Hoang

The tenacious midfielder was at the heart of everything that was positive about Vietnam’s performance today. He was hardworking and he consistently looked to find the likes of Cong Vinh and Van Quyet. But at the same time, the Becamex Binh Duong star wasn’t hesistant to be selfish on certain occassions too. His marauding influence meant that Malaysia needed to keep a close eye on him. And when they lost focus for a split second, he punished them by scoring the winning goal.

Truong Dinh Luat

Malaysia barely had anything going forward, but when they did threaten on a few occassions, Truong Dinh Luat’s commanding presence will always there to bail Vienam out. He used his experience really well today, especially in dealing with Hazwan Bakri, who has plenty of pace. His presence even forced Hazwan to move to the flanks on numerous occassions, simply because he was struggling to make it count in the middle. Fantastic performance from the 33 year-old Becamex Binh Duong player.

Syazwan Zainon

If there was something positive for Ong Kim Swee to take back from today’s game, it would be the performance of Syazwan Zainon. The Vietnamese knew all about his performance against Cambodia, before today’s game, which explains how they constantly kept a close eye on him on the pitch. But despite that, Syazwan’s attitude and persistence allowed him to continue being a key attacking outlet for the Tigers. Ong will undoubtedly ring the changes ahead of their clash against Myanmar, but expect Syazwan’s name to continue being on the sheet.


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