Defending champions Malaysia made it two wins from two at the 2013 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games after beating Group A opponents Laos 4-1 on Friday.
Fresh off the back of a 2-0 win over Brunei in their opening game, Harimau Muda edged ahead after seven minutes when Ahmad Hazwan Bakri rifled home a right-footed shot after his initial effort had been blocked.
However, the Laotians equalised four minutes before halftime when Soukaphone Vongchiengkam met Khonesavanh Sivahong’s freekick with a glancing header past Izham Tarmizi, only for Hazwan to restore his side’s lead on the hour mark; racing onto Irfan Fazail’s lovely lofted pass and sending the ball into the bottom corner with an acrobatic volley.
Ten minutes from time, the contest was all but ended when Laos centre-back Ketsada Souksavanh, in a desperate attempt to cut out D. Saarvindran’s cross, could only prod the ball into his own net.
But the night belonged to Hazwan and seven minutes later, he completed his hat-trick when he finished off Nazmi Faiz’s cross to round off the scoring for Malaysia.
Nonetheless, Malaysia remain second in the group after Singapore stayed top with a 2-0 win over Brunei in Friday’s late kickoff.
Aide Iskandar’s charges took the lead five minutes after the half-hour mark when captain Hariss Harun exquisitely brought down Safuwan Baharudin’s flick-on header, before firing home from just inside the box.
And in the 58th minute, the three points were secured after Sahil Suhaimi held off Hazwan Hamzah before finishing with his left foot, for his third goal in as many games.
To make matters worse for the Bruneians, they ended the game with ten men after Khairil Shahme Suhaimi was sent off seven minutes later following an off-the-ball incident with Sahil.
Singapore will now be looking to seal their progress to the semi-finals with a win over Malaysia on Sunday, while Laos take on Vietnam.
Friday’s 2013 SEA Games Group A Results
Malaysia 4-1 Laos
Brunei 0-2 Singapore