Vietnam failed to seal an important away win against Malaysia in the first-leg final game of the 2018 AFF Championship in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, as the hosts staged a comeback to draw the match at 2-2.
The away team scored twice in the first 40 minutes, but it was not an easy task for the Golden Stars to maintain the two-goal lead when they had to play before more than 80,000 Malaysian supporters at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Both teams proved they deserved to play the tournament decider right from the beginning of Tuesday’s game, with the away side even having better possesion and chances in the first ten minutes.
However, the Malaysians proved they were the real owners of the Bukit Jalil as they won back dominance in the following ten minutes.
But the home supporters were all left silent when Huy Hung opened the lead for Vietnam in the 22nd minute with a stunning shot from inside the box, after collecting the ball from Van Duc, who beat the Malaysian offside trap to deliver a brilliant assist.
It only took Vietnam three more minutes to widen the lead when Duc Huy netted from outside the box.
The Golden Stars had a chance to make it 3-0 in the 31st minute, but Duc Chinh failed to score when he came face to face with Malaysian goalie Farizal Marlias.
Malaysia trailed by a single goal at the break after Shahrul Saad collected netted with a header to make it 1-2 for the home side from a freekick from the left wing.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, the Malayan Tigers managed to level the game when Safawi Rasid bent a freekick around the wall to score the precious equalizer.
Both teams got exhausted and failed to score any goals in the rest of the game.
With two goals scored on the Malaysian turf, Vietnam still have an advantage when they host Malaysia in Hanoi on December 15 thanks to the away-goal rule.
Vietnam won the AFF Championship, contested by ten nations affiliated to the ASEAN Football Federation, in 2008.