Vietnam brought Malaysia down 2-1 on Monday evening to advance to the semifinals of the 2023 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games men’s football event with a match to spare.
The outcome of the Group B match held at Prince Stadium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia was decided as soon as Malaysia were left with only nine players on the field following two red cards.
The referee awarded Vietnam a penalty when a Malaysia defender handled the ball with their arm inside the box.
Although Nguyen Van Tung’s initial penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Sikh Izhan, he was able to score on his second attempt, resulting in the opener for Vietnam.
Following their concession, Malaysia were compelled to push forward in search of an equalizer, but they ended up seeing Van Tung complete his double and fourth goal at the 2023 SEA Games by heading in a cross from Vo Minh Trong on the left flank in the 32nd minute.
Muhammad Aliff took advantage of Vietnamese goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan’s inability to catch the ball cleanly during a free kick and scored a goal in the 42nd minute to reduce Malaysia’s deficit.
|Vietnamese player Nguyen Van Tung celebrates his goal against Malaysia in men’s football at the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia, May 8, 2023. Photo: N.K. / Tuoi Tre|
After the break, Vietnam allowed their MVP, Van Tung, to leave the field early and enhanced their defense.
While Malaysia were striving to take advantage of their physique and stamina to bring the game back to the start, they made terrible mistakes.
Shortly after substitute Muhammad Safwan was shown a straight red card for violent play on Nguyen Thanh Nhan, Malaysia got a second red card as Najmudin Akmal received the second yellow card for fouling Thanh Nhan in the 82nd minute.
The remaining players were unable to make any difference for Malaysia.
The 2-1 victory qualified Vietnam for the semifinals even with one more game against Thailand to play on Thursday.
The other teams in Group B -- Malaysia, Laos, and Singapore -- were eliminated.
In Group A, Indonesia also reached the last four with the perfect three wins so far, hosts Cambodia and Myanmar are still competing for the semifinal ticket, while Timor-Leste and the Philippines were knocked out of the competition.
The 2023 Southeast Asian Games is currently taking place in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh, Siem Reap Province, Preah Sihanouk Province, Kampot Province, and Kep Province until May 17.