Vietnam are up and running in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after Nguyen Quang Hai netted the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win over Malaysia at the My Dinh National Stadium on Thursday.
In a keenly-contested encounter that also served as a rematch of last year’s AFF Suzuki Cup final, both sides created their fair share of chances in the opening 45.
However, it was Vietnam who drew first blood in the 40th minute when a searching pass floated into the area by Que Ngoc Hai picked out Quang Hai.
Having made a clever run in behind Shahrul Saad to get just a yard of space, the Hanoi FC star then did brilliantly to keep his eye on the high ball and meet it with an acrobatic volley that squeezed past Farizal Marlias at his near post.
Behind on the scoreboard, Malaysia did show increased endeavour in the second half in a bid to get back into the contest although the hosts always looked in control of proceedings.
And they even had a chance to kill off the contest in the 73rd minute when Nguyen Anh Duc looked poised to score after Nguyen Van Toan’s scuffed shot fell to him but Shahrul Saad made a crucial block, although Vietnam ultimately did enough to go on and claim the three points.
The result means Vietnam remain unbeaten in Group G with four points from two matches, while Malaysia have played one game more for a record of one win and two defeats.
VIETNAM: Dang Van Lam, Do Duy Manh, Que Ngoc Hai, Bui Tien Dung, Nguyen Trong Hoang, Do Hung Dung, Nguyen Tuan Anh (Pham Duc Huy 46’), Doan Van Hau, Nguyen Quang Hai, Nguyen Cong Phuong (Nguyen Anh Duc 63’), Nguyen Van Toan (Nguyen Viet Phong 87’).
MALAYSIA: Farizal Marlias, Matthew Davies (Syahmi Safari 90+1’), Shahrul Saad, Aidil Zafuan, La’Vere Corbin-Ong, Brendan Gan, Abdul Halim Saari, Mohamadou Sumareh, Syafiq Ahmad, Safawi Rasid, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Akhyar Rashid 56’).
Photo credit: Asian Football Confederation