When the AFF Suzuki Cup groups were drawn, Vietnam vs Malaysia was pinned as a possible Group A ‘decider’. As a result, the expectations were high. However, at the end of the match, it all felt a bit anti-climactic as Vietnam came out with a 2-0 win despite having just 31% of the ball. And so, we take a look at how the players fared.
V. Dang (6): Dang should’ve been tested more often, considering how dominant Malaysia were throughout the night. However, the Vietnamese goalkeeper was rarely tested.
H. Nguyen (7): Starting in the right wing-back position, Trong Hoang was given the dual task of stretching the Malaysian team while helping in the defensive areas. He did his job well and helped his side keep another clean sheet.
D.M. Do (7): The three Vietnamese centre-backs had to work very hard tonight but ultimately did their jobs well. Do was a part of the trio who, time and again, outsmarted the Harimau Malay forwards.
D.T. Tran (8): Tran was put in the middle of the back three and as a result had a big responsibility at his hands. However, the 21-year-old played with confidence and maturity throughout the night as his side ran out 2-0 winners.
N. Que (7): The third of the centre backs on the night, 25-year-old Que Ngoc Hai was superb through the night and helped Vietnam keep a clean sheet.
V.H. Doan (7): Doan was given a very specific task to do which he was able to accomplish with ease. A good overall performance by the 19-year-old.
C. Nguyen (8): Cong Phuong had already opened his own personal goalscoring account on matchday 1. However, the 23-year-old added another as he opened the scoring tonight in the 11th minute. On a night when Vietnam had to defend with their back to the walls, Cong Phuong’s early goal proved to be the difference.
L. Truong (7): Truong was an unlikely hero in Vietnam’s stunning win against Malaysia. He might not have done anything remarkable but his presence in midfield helped the Golden Dragons deal with the Malaysian pressure. Could have done better when in possession, however.
Q. Nguyen (7): While Quang Hai did get a goal the last time around, he couldn’t contribute with one this time. However, the 21-year-old did a good job for his team in midfield as his side ran out winners without conceding for a second straight game.
P. Van Duc (8): Vietnam were on the wrong end of a lot of Malaysian pressure throughout the night. However, Van Duc, who was a part of the midfield four employed just ahead of the back five sustained that pressure and at many times converted it into an attacking output. He provided the assist for Vietnam’s second goal.
A. Nguyen (9): On a day when his team really needed him, Nguyen Anh Duc delivered. The striker had already opened his account on matchday 1 but added another tonight along with supplying an assist to Cong Phuong. An all-star performance from a man who had an immense responsibility on his shoulder.
H.D. Do (6): Entered the fray in the 73rd minute in place of Phan Van Duc and helped his side defend a two-goal lead till the end of the game.
D.H. Pham (N/A): Came on for Luong Xuan Truong in the 87th minute.
V.Q. Nguyen (6): Came on in place of goalscorer Cong Phuong and helped his side see off the game.
K. Che Mat (6): Did not enjoy a good day between the posts and conceded two goals which ultimately led to a 2-0 loss.
M.S. bin Safari (6): A fairly average performance from the right back, who despite his side’s staggering 69% possession, could not provide any attacking inputs. Ended up conceding two goals as well.
M. Aidil Zaduan (6): Aidil Zafuan’s performance on the night was definitely not up to the standards as Vietnam scored two goals against the run of play to take the match.
S. Saad (5): Saad was perhaps the worse of the two centre-backs as his side conceded two goals against the run of play. Had difficulty dealing with the Vietnamese forwards on occasions and even ended up with a yellow card. A night to forget for the 25-year-old.
S. Andik (6): Suffered the same fate as his teammate on the other side and didn’t provide any width or defensive cover.
M. Sumareh (5): Playing in a 4-4-2 formation, Sumareh was deployed on the right wing. He was expected to help in attack and defence but did neither.
M. Akram (6): All the possession in the world and not a decent outlet to feed it to. That’s what Akram and his midfield partners had to deal with. However, the man himself looked devoid of ideas as he failed to break down a rigid Vietnamese defence.
S. Kutty Abba (5): The second Malaysian player to go into the book, 21-year-old Syamer Kitty Abba was below par on the night. Was substituted on the 72nd minute.
M. Akhyar (6): Not the best of performances from Akhyar, who despite his side’s 69% possession couldn’t do much.
S. Fikri (4): With 69% possession and more than double the passes than their opponents, people would expect Malaysia to do better. However, it was a toothless performance by the Harimau Malaya with their star striker, Shahrel Fikri, going missing. Was replaced on the hour mark.
N. Talaha (5): Many expected Norshahrul Idlan Talaha to get on the scoresheet tonight as well. However, the forward, who recently said that he could still get better, was looking much less the part tonight.
S. Ahmad (6): Entered the fray on the 72nd minute in place of Syamer Kutty Abba but wasn’t able to break down the Vietnam backline.
H. Bakri (5): Came on in place of Shahrel Fikri on the hour-mark. Looked lively but lacked a finishing touch.
S. Rasid (6): Was substituted in for Sumareh on the 58th minute and immediately Stung the goalkeeper’s palms with a freekick. However, that was the highest point of his performance.