Vietnam fight back to beat Malaysia in first leg of Suzuki Cup semi-final
(Safiq Rahim 14-pen)
(Vo Huy Toan 32, Nguyen Van Quyet 60)
Vietnam fought back from a goal down to secure an impressive 2-1 first leg win away to Malaysia on Sunday and take a firm grip of their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final.
The hosts had targeted a two goal advantage from the first leg and they were halfway there in the 13th minute after stand-in skipper Safiq Rahim confidently stroked home a penalty awarded when Nguyen Huy Hung handled.
But Vietnam were unfazed by the set back and took a grip of the game in front of 80,000 at the Shah Alam Stadium, west of Kuala Lumpur.
A swift break from the visitors put striker Nguyen Van Quyet through and despite goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi parrying his shot, Vo Huy Toan was on hand to smash the follow up high into the net in the 32nd minute.
The visitors continued to cause the hosts all sorts of trouble and Van Quyet was able to find space between two Malaysian defenders to curl home the winner on the hour mark.
Both sides were fortunate not to have a man sent off as the intensity boiled over with some heavy tackles as Malaysia pushed for an equaliser to take to Hanoi for the second leg on Thursday.
The hosts had two good chances to score in the final stages with Safee Sali seeing his dipping shot tipped over, while Indra Putra Mahayuddin wasted a header in the final play.
"I must congratulate my players for not panicking after conceding the goal although I felt that they would play better in the second half," Vietnam’s Japanese coach Toshiya Miura told reporters.
Malaysian coach Dollah Salleh was at a loss to explain the defeat.
"I don’t know what happened to the players. They were not disciplined tonight, especially our backline," he said.