AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Classy Vietnam brush aside Malaysia

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Vietnam made it two wins in a row at AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 on Friday evening as they cruised to a 2-0 win over Group A rivals Malaysia at the My Dinh National Stadium.

Having claimed victories over Cambodia and Laos in their opening two games, the Malaysians came into the game looking to maintain their 100 per cent record and take a huge step towards sealing a place in the semi-finals.

And, given they had not been in action on the previous match-day, it was perhaps unsurprising that Vietnam took awhile to get out of the blocks as the visitors made the brightest start to the contest.

But, in the 11th minute and completely against the run of play, the Vietnamese opened the scoring when the overlapping Doan Van Hau and he cut the ball back perfectly to Nguyen Anh Duc.

Although the Becamex Binh Duong target-man completely scuffed his shot, the ball fell kindly to Nguyen Cong Phuong, who casually flicked the ball past the onrushing Khairul Fahmi.

Harimau Malaya did try to force their way back into the contest but, despite the best efforts of striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and left winger Akhyar Rashid, they were severely lacking a creative spark in the final third.

And, right on the hour mark, Vietnam netted a second goal to seal the victory; Phan Van Duc producing an incisive pass that sliced apart the opposition defence to pave the way for Anh Duc to clinically finish into the bottom corner from an acute angle.

Vietnam will now meet Myanmar in a top-of-the-table clash on November 20 that should decide who goes on to win Group A, while Malaysia have to wait until the final round of matches four days after for their chance to advance to the semis.

VIETNAM: Dang Van Lam, Do Duy Manh, Tran Dinh Trong, Que Ngoc Hai, Nguyen Trong Hoang, Luong Xuan Truong (Pham Duc Huy 87’), Nguyen Quang Hai, Doan Van Hau, Nguyen Cong Phuong (Nguyen Van Quyet 74’), Phan Van Duc (Do Hung Dung 72’), Nguyen Anh Duc.

MALAYSIA: Khairul Fahmi, Syahmi Safari, Aidil Zafuan, Shahrul Saad, Syazwan Andik, Mohamadou Sumareh (Safawi Rasid 58’), Akram Mahinan, Syamer Kutty Abba (Syafiq Ahmad 72’), Akhyar Rashid, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Shahrel Fikri Fauzi (Ahmad Hazwan Bakri 62’).