The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) will call on relevant agencies to look into the shocking 2-4 defeat of Vietnam against Malaysia in the second leg of their 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal, its chairman said after the match in Hanoi on Thursday.
Investigation should focus on the team’s defense which showed a number of strange signs in the encounter, where Malaysia managed to scored four goals just in the first half, VFF chairman Le Hung Dung told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“I have no idea what happened, and I guess [coach] Miura doesn’t, either,” Dung said.
Dung asserted the defense is to blame for all of the four goals.
“Are they really that bad? They had a totally different performance in the first leg game,” he added, referring to the impressive 2-1 away victory in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, when the Vietnamese men defied rough play by the hosts to make a dramatic comeback.
“I couldn’t help doubting this game, so I will ask for a probe.”
The Vietnamese defenders, midfielders and goalie were described as “drowsy” during the match, when they only needed one point to set up a final against Thailand, who had easily beat the Philippines 3-0 on aggregate to book the first ticket.
Midfielders Phuoc Tu and Tien Thanh always stood far apart from each other, whereas defenders Ngoc Hai and Van Bien were too close to the touchlines.
“This created huge space for Malaysian players to take advantage of,” former national forward Tran Minh Chien said in a comment sent to Tuoi Tre.
“Vietnam’s defense repeatedly made mistakes which allowed the Malaysians to make My Dinh Stadium their home,” Chien said.
Chien added all four Vietnamese defenders are to blame as they were the main reason why Vietnam conceded four goals in only 45 minutes.
The Vietnamese midfielders also failed to use their common tactic of short passes and one-twos to penetrate the Malaysian box due to the pressing defense of their rivals, and thus had to switch to long balls, Chien analyzed.
“But we had as many as 18 long passes that went directly to the Malaysians,” he said.
Malaysia opened the scoring just two minutes into the game with a penalty after Vietnamese defender Ngoc Hai fouled midfielder Indra Putra from behind when he was in the box.
This stemmed from an awkward Vietnamese formation that easily lost the ball to their opponents right from the beginning of the game. Defender Safiq Rahim defeated Vietnamese goalkeeper Nguyen Manh from the penalty spot.
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 defender Idlan Talaha the chance to take possession 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 went up 3-1 after Vietnam’s central defender Tien Thanh ‘donated’ the visiting team another score through 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 into 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.
Vietnam 2 - 4 Malaysia: Match highlights and goals
Malaysia coach Dollah Salleh had said his team needed a miracle to turn the tide, and the 4-2 win in Hanoi was beyond what he and his men had wished for.
Beating Vietnam 5-4 on aggregate, Malaysia will play in the AFF Cup final with Thailand on a home and away basis on December 17 and 20.
Vietnam’s coach Toshiya Miura said during the post-match press meeting that he will never forget the terrible defeat.
The Japanese manager said he was shocked at the performance of his players, but rejected the thought that the Vietnamese men had underestimated their rivals after the 2-1 first leg victory.
Miura underlined he is fully responsible for the loss.