With the final of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup just around the corner, Malaysia and Vietnam are now on the final preparations before their clash at Bukit Jalil National Stadium in the first leg.
As Malaysia play host on December 11, the Vietnamese squad would play their home game at My Dinh Stadium on December 15 in what should be two exciting legs of Asian football.
With that in mind, we take a look at how their head-to-head matches in the competition have fared so far.
Looking at their head-to-head as a whole, the Golden Dragons are definitely ahead as in 11 meetings in the competition, the Vietnamese have won six, while Malaysia have only won three times. The other two meetings ended in draws.
With the two teams not meeting in the inaugural AFF Suzuki Cup back in 1996, their first glimpses of each other in the competition started in 1998.
1998 – GROUP STAGES (Vietnam 1 – 0 Malaysia)
In what was the last group stage match of Group B, Vietnam were dominating the group alongside Singapore as they marched through the competition while Malaysia only had one point so far – in a draw against Laos.
When they met, a Nguyen Hong Son goal in the 50th minute spelled the difference between the two squads as Vietnam got the win.
2000 – GROUP STAGES (Vietnam 0 – 0 Malaysia)
The first of three draws in their history, Vietnam and Malaysia met again in the group stages and neither team were able to break the goalless deadlock after 90 minutes.
In the competition, both would advance in the next round, with Vietnam winning the group via better goal difference.
2000 – BATTLE FOR THIRD (Malaysia 3 – 0 Vietnam)
With both teams losing in the semifinal of the competition, the two were pitted to meet in the battle for third place.
Malaysia would record their first win over Vietnam in the competition, with goals from Rosdi Talib and a Rusdi Suparman to topple the Golden Dragons.
2002 – BATTLE FOR THIRD (Vietnam 2 – 1 Malaysia)
As they did two years ago, Vietnam and Malaysia would again meet for the distinction of third place in the AFF Suzuki Cup.
After losing heavily in their previous battle, Vietnam did enough to win 2-1 with goals from T.T. Giang and N.M. Phuong. Meanwhile, Indra Putra had a consolation goal for the Malaysians.
2008 – GROUP STAGES (Malaysia 2 – 3 Vietnam)
The next two AFF Suzuki Cup competitions did not produce a Malaysia-Vietnam battle and they met again in 2008 in the group stages.
In the third match of the group, it was a back-and-forth battle between the two as Pham Thanh Luong opened the scoring for Vietnam only to be leveled by Indra four minutes later.
Nguyen Vu Phong helped regain the lead for the Golden Dragons but Indra bagged a brace only a minute later to tie the score yet again.
However, a third goal by Vietnam care of Vu Phong only a minute later sealed the 2-3 win for the Golden Dragons.
2010 – SEMIFINAL (Malaysia 2 – 0 Vietnam)
In what was their first semifinal meeting in the competition, Malaysia finished Group A as runners-up while Vietnam won the group.
As defending champions, Vietnam were favoured but a brace from Safee Sali gave Malaysia a 2-0 win in the first leg – their home leg.
At My Dinh Stadium, Vietnam could not find an answer as the match ended in a 0-0 draw to see Malaysia through to the final.
This would eventually result in the Malaysians winning their first-ever AFF Suzuki Cup title.
2014 – SEMIFINAL (Malaysia 5 – 4 Vietnam)
Just like four years before this, the two teams would meet in the semifinal with Vietnam winning Group A, while Malaysia were runners-up in Group B.
In the first leg, Malaysia went ahead thanks to a goal by Safiq Rahim but Vo Huy Toan and Nguyen Van Quyet scored for the Golden Dragons to give them the 2-1 advantage.
However, they could not hold on to it in the second leg as Malaysia battled furiously to win the second leg 4-2 to eventually take the semis match 5-4 on aggregate.
2016 – GROUP STAGES (Malaysia 0 – 1 Vietnam)
For the first time since 2008, the two teams met in the group stages and a goal from Nguyen Trong Hoang in the 80th minute spelled the difference as Vietnam won.
They would go on to win Group B while Malaysia failed to qualify after finishing third in the cluster.
2018 – GROUP STAGES (Vietnam 2 – 0 Malaysia)
And in what would be their latest meeting in the AFF Suzuki Cup, the two teams were together in Group A and met at My Dinh Stadium.
Vietnam were confident in the match as they scored an early goal thanks to Nguyen Cong Phuong. Nguyen Anh Duc eventually doubled the lead in the 60th minute to give the Vietnamese a 2-0 lead.
In what will be the first time the two teams meet in the finals, history shows that these two bring out the best in each other and the same quality should be expected when they battle over two legs to see who will be crowned as champions in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.