Malaysia have advanced to the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup final against Thailand after beating Vietnam 5-4 on aggregate.
The Malaysians lost 1-2 to Vietnam in the semifinal first leg in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday but they stunned Vietnam with a 4-2 win in Hanoi on Sunday to secure a spot in the finale of the tournament.
The Vietnamese hosts needed only one point to make it to the last game but their defenders played like novices in the encounter last night in front of 40,000 supporters at My Dinh Stadium and thus ‘presented’ most of the goals to the visitors.
Le Cong Vinh proved he is still Vietnam’s leading striker with a brace in this match but that was not enough to prevent his side from bowing out of the Southeast Asian championship.
In the second minute, defender Ngoc Hai played foul against Malaysian midfielder Indra Putra from behind when he was in the box and Malaysia were awarded a penalty shot.
This stemmed from an awkward Vietnamese formation easily losing the ball to their rivals right from the beginning of the game. Defender Safiq Rahim defeated Vietnamese goalkeeper Nguyen Manh to open the scoring.
In the first leg in Kuala Lumpur, it was Rahim who scored the opener for his team on the penalty spot before Vietnam netted two goals later to seal a 2-1 win.
In the 15th minute, keeper Manh and defender Van Bien ‘gifted’ Malaysia the second goal following a long pass by midfielder Badhri Radzi. Bien and Manh resigned the ball to each other, giving the chance to defender Idlan Talaha to have the ball and double the advantage to 2-0.
Six minutes later, Vietnam shortened the gap to 1-2 thanks to a penalty kick after attacking winger Nguyen Van Quyet was pulled down in the Malaysian box. Le Cong Vinh stepped forward and subdued the Malaysian goalie.
In the 29th minute, Malaysia lifted up the result to 3-1 after Vietnam’s central defender Tien Thanh ‘donated’ the visiting team another goal by making an own goal.
Malaysia extended the gap to 4-1 from a corner kick on the right in the 43rd minute. The ball was crossed to the Vietnamese box and striker Fadhli Shas headed it to unmarked defender Shukor Adan who headed home neatly and easily.
The hosts again shortened the difference to 2-4 following a quick shot by Le Cong Vinh in the 79th minute. From an attack launched from midfield, Vinh was set up in a favorable position and blasted a shot to defeat Malaysian keeper Farizal Marlias.
Officiating the match in Hanoi was Japanese referees, with Toma Masaaki the main referee, assisted by two linesmen Otsuka Haruhiro and Ochi Shinji. The fourth official was Kimura Hiroyuki. Thai referee Russamee Jindamai was the supervisor of the refereeing.
After the first leg in Kuala Lumpur, a group of aggressive Malaysian fans attacked and injured Vietnamese supporters with glass bottles at the Shah Alam Stadium.
Malaysian Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin reportedly sent an apology to Vietnamese fans for what was caused by “irresponsible thugs.”
On Wednesday, Thailand beat the Philippines 3-0 in the second leg game after a goalless draw in the first leg in Manila last week.
The 2014 Suzuki Cup finale will be played on a home and away basis on December 17 and 20.