An incredible goal by star Nguyen Quang Hai led to Vietnam bagging three points in their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Malaysia in Hanoi on Thursday.
The qualifier was a rematch of the AFF Cup final last year where the Vietnamese beat Malaysia 3-2 on aggregate to claim the Southeast Asian football title.
The Malaysian visitors attacked right after kick-off, staging a pressing performance at My Dinh National Stadium.
Vietnam could have conceded a goal in the first 30 minutes but for keeper Dang Van Lam’s excellence.
Lam denied a header 11 minutes into the game following a corner kick.
But it was the Golden Stars who drew first blood with their counterattack tactics.
Doan Van Hau dashed down the left flank in the 40th minute but he could not dribble past the Malaysian defensive line.
Hau passed the ball back to captain Que Ngoc Hai, who lobbed it to Quang Hai speeding up into the Malaysian box.
With the instinct of a great striker, Hai neatly netted following an incredible left-footed volley.
The hosts continued with their counterattacks in the second half and missed a clear chance in the 73rd minute.
Nguyen Trong Hoang darted into the box from the right side to find a pass from Duc Huy.
Hoang’s cross found Nguyen Van Toan but Toan’s awkward attempt fell to veteran substitute Nguyen Anh Duc.
Duc shot the ball into the empty net but Shahrul Saad blocked it in time.
The visitors tried their best in the remaining time but they failed to find an equalizer.
Vietnam have earned four points, placing second after Thailand with the same points in Group G, followed by the UAE (three points), Malaysia (three points), and Indonesia (zero points).
Indonesia will host Vietnam in Bali on October 15.