Strikers Nguyen Cong Phuong and Nguyen Anh Đuc helped Vietnam beat Malaysia 2-0 in their second match of Group A at the AFF Suzuki Cup on Friday night.
|Onwards: Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong (middle) celebrates his goal against Malaysia in their second match at Group A of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Friday night. – VNA/VNS Photo|
The game was held at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.
“I am very happy to contribute to Vietnam’s win today. The match was wonderful as we had the support of thousands of fans. We will try our best to play well in the next matches to thank the fans,” said Phuong.
“We played very well as we had a long rest following the 3-0 win against Laos in the first match on November 8,” Phuong added.
In the second minute, Vietnam had the first chance against the Malaysian goal. Receiving the ball from midfielder Luong Xuan Truong, Doan Van Hau managed a header but it bounced off the cross bar.
After that the visiting side responded quickly down the right wing but Nguyen Trang Hoang saved the hosts from danger.
In the 11th minute, from an attack on the left wing, Phuong, who is considered Vietnam’s Messi, scored the opener for the hosts.
It was Phuong’s second goal in the event. He opened the scoring at New Laos National Stadium to help Vietnam get their AFF Cup 2018 campaign off to a winning start on November 8.
Phuong, who is one of the top scorers of the V.League 1 side Hoang Anh Gia Lai, is also listed by affsuzukicup.com as being among the best players in the event’s opening matches.
After conceding an early goal, the visitors pushed back. Syamer Kutty Abba was awarded a yellow card following his foul against midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai in the 13th minute.
One minute later, Vietnam were given a free kick 30m from the Malaysian goal. Hai stepped up but his shot hit the post.
In the 21st minute, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, who has scored three goals in the regional event, nearly scored an equaliser for Malaysia but couldn’t beat Vietnamese goalkeeper Dang Van Lam.
The hosts played slower and managed to control the ball while Malaysia continued to keep a quick tempo.
In the 37th minute, Abdul Rashid threatened the Vietnamese goal but goalie Lam again pulled off a strong save.
Vietnam had several chances to double the score before the first half ended but they failed.
After the break, Malaysia fought back strongly and controlled the game in the first 15 minutes of the second half, however, Vietnam scored to double the score.
In the 60th minute, receiving a spectacular pass from Phan Van Duc, striker Duc defeated Malaysia’s goalie.
Duc, 33, is the oldest player in the Vietnamese squad. He also scored one goal against Laos on the opening night of the tournament. He performed well in the National Cup this year to help his club Binh Duong take the title.
In the 70th minute, a Malaysian player elbowed attacker Phuong but the referees didn’t see the altercation.
After that, both Vietnam and Malaysia changed their line-up. However, Malaysian efforts in the remaining minutes weren’t enough to change the scoreline.
In another Group A match played the same day, Myanmar came from behind to beat Laos 3-1.
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