Malaysian coach Dollah Salleh admitted that the Vietnamese visitors displayed very good football in their 2-1 victory over his men on Sunday in the first leg of their 2014 Southeast Asian Football Championship, or AFF Suzuki Cup, semifinal.
The coach said after the match in Kuala Lumpur that, “I am disappointed but we still have 90 more minutes in the return leg in Hanoi on Thursday.
“There we must play with 200 percent of our strength to hope for an aggregate win over Vietnam.
“Today, my players pushed up in their formation to look for goals and thus failed in defense and lost the game.
“We had careful preparations for this match.”
He added that, “We were actually lucky because Vietnam should have scored more than two goals.”
The coach praised the performance of midfielder Thanh Luong, striker Cong Vinh, and defender Ngoc Hai of the Vietnamese side.
Japanese coach Toshiya Miura of Vietnam also complimented his players for their spirit and skills, “This match was difficult for us and my players were calm to compete for this win in front of 65,000 Malaysian fans in the stands.”
He added, “We realize that everything can happen in the return leg on Thursday and we will be careful.”
Commenting on the penalty that Chinese referee Ma Ning awarded Malaysia, head of the Vietnamese referees’ board Nguyen Van Mui said, “The referee should not have awarded that penalty.”
The ball hit the shoulder, not the hand, of Vietnamese defender Huy Hung, he argued.
After conceding the goal from the penalty, Vietnam got two goals in the 32nd and the 60th minutes by Huy Toan and Van Quyet to win 2-1.
When Vietnam scored the second goal, several aggressive Malaysian fans began attacking the Vietnamese supporters.
They hurled glass bottles and injured several visiting fans watching the match at Shah Alam.
Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin reportedly sent an apology to Vietnamese fans for what was caused by “irresponsible thugs.”
He said the aggressive attackers do not represent Malaysia and he wants to send his apology to the Vietnamese fans “on behalf of Malaysia.”
"These violent fans do not represent Malaysia. My sincere apologies on behalf of Malaysia for the actions of these small number [sic] of irresponsible thugs," The Malaysian Insider quoted him as saying.
There is no excuse for such an attack on the visitors, he added.
There has been no comment from the Malaysian or Southeast Asian football federations.
Hosts the Philippines and Thailand drew 0-0 on Saturday in the other semi first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
Both the semis and finals of the biennial competition are organized on a home and away basis, with the returning games taking place in Bangkok on Wednesday and Hanoi on Thursday.