Malaysia booked final four berth

Malaysia advanced to the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Saturday when they beat Singapore 3-1 at the National Stadium.

Malaysia took the lead on the hour mark when Safee Sali found the back of the Singapore net, but the defending champions appeared to have rescued the situation in the 83rd minute when Khairul Amri equalised.

However, Malaysia were awarded a controversial penalty in injury time, which was converted by Safiq Rahim.

The Malaysia lead was doubled when Putra Mahayuddin scored into an unguarded net after Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny pushed forward for a late corner but was left out of position when Dollah Salleh won position and scored a counter-attacking goal to ensure the victory.

The result means Malaysia will meet Vietnam in the semi-finals, with the first leg taking place Kuala Lumpur on December 7. In the other semi-final, Thailand will travel to Manila for the first leg against the Philippines the day before.

Both Malaysia and Singapore seemed to struggle to cope with the pressure of the occasion during in a first half that was blighted by aimless passing and miss-controls.

Arguably the best opportunity of the opening salvo occurred in the 42nd minute when a loose ball fell to Safee on the edge of the Singapore box, but the striker was unable to direct the ball goal-wards from a tight angle and slammed it against the upright.

Malaysia eventually took the lead in the 57th minute when Amri Yahyah found Safee unmarked in the penalty area and the Darul Takzim goal poacher made no mistake with his effort.

Singapore was seemingly running out of ideas on how to break down the resolute Malaysia defense, but was given a reprieve when goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi spilt a Safuwan Baharuddi free-kick and Khairul Amri made no mistake from close-range to level proceedings.

However, the Singapore celebrations were short-lived when the referee awarded Malaysia with a penalty following a tussle in the penalty area. Safiq then made no mistake with the spot kick and sent Hasson the wrong way to give his side the lead once more.

Moments later, with Singapore desperately in search of an equalizer, Hassan was sent up-field to contest a corner kick, but Indra Putra gained possession for Malaysia and calmly guided the ball into an open net from 30 yards after breaking clear of the on-rushing Singapore defense.