In one of the highlights of the third matchday in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Vietnam will host regional rivals Malaysia at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Thursday.
The two Southeast Asian sides last met in the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 where Park Hang-seo’s Golden Dragons emerged as ASEAN champions after a neck-and-neck battle over two legs. However, their rivalry goes back farther in time.
Historically, Malaysia have had a bad track record against the Vietnamese with the Harimau Malaya only winning six while losing 11 of their previous 20 international meetings with the Dragons. However, this time around, Vietnam are coming up against a young Malaysian side brimming with confidence.
Here, we take a look at the five most recent meetings between the two ASEAN rivals ahead of Thursday’s mouth-watering encounter…
Vietnam 2-4 Malaysia – AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 – December 11, 2014
Odds were stacked against Malaysia in AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 after losing 2-1 to Vietnam in the first leg at the Shah Alam Stadium on December 7. Add to that a daunting visit to Vietnam’s den of My Dinh Stadium and it looked like a comeback was almost impossible. But that is exactly what Dollah Salleh’s men did in Hanoi. Safiq Rahim gave the visitors an early lead from the spot before Norshahrul Idlan Talaha took advantage of a defensive mixup to make it 2-0 and give the Tigers a 3-2 lead in the tie. However, legendary striker Le Cong Vinh pulled one back for the hosts in the 22nd minute to level things at 3-3, but that was the closest Vietnam came to threaten on the night. A Dinh Tien Thanh own goal and captain Shukor Adan’s header gave Salleh’s side a 4-1 lead before half-time and Cong Vinh’s second in the 79th minute was a mere consolation for the home side.
Malaysia 0-1 Vietnam – AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 – November 23, 2016
Two years on, the two ASEAN sides once again met in the AFF Suzuki Cup, but this time in the group stages. Malaysia were led by Ong Kim Swee while Nguyen Huu Thang had taken over at Vietnam. Malaysia had fought off a Chan Vathanaka-inspired Cambodia in their opener while Vietnam defeated hosts Myanmar 2-1 in theirs. On the second matchday in Group C, the two sides met and it was Vietnam who got the narrow 1-0 win as Nguyen Trong Hoang scored the winner with 10 minutes left to play. While Vietnam progressed to the knockouts, Malaysia crashed out in the group stages after another 1-0 defeat to the Asian Lions in their third and final group engagement.
Vietnam 2-0 Malaysia – AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 – November 16, 2018
Vietnam and Malaysia were drawn in the same group again for 2018’s AFF Championship along with Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. And their meeting on the third matchday turned out to be the one that decided the winners and runners-up of Group A. The setting was once again the My Dinh Stadium and Tan Cheng Hoe’s travelling side fell behind as early as the 11th minute when Vietnam striker Nguyen Cong Phuong netted the opener. Veteran Nguyen Anh Duc sealed the 2-0 result for Park Hang-seo’s side on the hour-mark as Malaysia booked a semifinal spot. Malaysia would also progress behind Vietnam after wins over all three other teams in the pool.
Malaysia 2-2 Vietnam – AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 – December 11, 2018
The two sides’ paths crossed yet again in the latest edition of the AFF Championship as the duo progressed to the two-legged final. While Malaysia had seen off ASEAN heavyweights Thailand 2-2 on away goals, Vietnam recorded a 4-2 win over Philippines over two legs in their last four tie. The first leg took place at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, packed to the rafters, as Malaysia went in search of their second title after their maiden triumph back in 2010. And the close to 90,000 in the Malaysian capital were stunned as Vietnam went 2-0 up by the 25th minute with goals from Nguyen Huy Hung and Pham Duc Huy. But Shahrul Saad headed home a freekick to make it 2-1 before the break and Safawi Rasid’s left-foot set-piece from the edge of the box earned a draw for Cheng Hoe’s side to keep them alive.
Vietnam 1-0 Malaysia – AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 – December 15, 2018
And so, the decider was to take place at the My Dinh Stadium and once again, it turned out to be a disappointing outing for the visiting Malaysians in Hanoi. This time, the sucker punch was delivered by Nguyen Anh Duc as early as the sixth minute and Malaysia, who had defied odds to reach the final, failed to find a way back against a well-disciplined home side. The result meant that Vietnam lifted their second ASEAN title after a gap of 10 years and South Korean tactician Park had his first silverware in charge of the Golden Dragons. With another trip to Hanoi now on the horizon, can a much-improved Malaysia exact revenge on recent disappointments at the hands of Vietnam? We will have the answer soon.