Vietnam came from behind at the Shah Alam Stadium on Sunday evening to record a 2-1 win over Malaysia in the first leg of their 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final clash.
It was Harimau Malaya who edged ahead in the 14th minute when Safiq Rahim coolly slotted his penalty into the bottom corner, after Mahali Jasuli’s fierce drive from the edge of the box was adjudged to have been blocked by Nguyen Huy Hung with his hand.
However, the visitors equalised three minutes after the half-hour mark as Nguyen Van Quyet raced through on goal and although his low shot drew a smart save from Khairul Fahmi, the loose ball rolled kindly into the path of Vo Huy Toan to smash a follow-up effort into the back of the net.
And in the 61st minute, the Vietnamese went on to grab the victory after Mac Hong Quan, moments after being brought on for Pham Thanh Luong, found space in the attacking third and spread the ball right to Van Quyet.
With a lovely touch, the Ha Noi T&T man cleverly skipped inside Zubir Azmi and, despite an impending challenge from Fadhli Shas, managed to curl a lovely shot into the far corner to win it for his side.
Vietnam are now favourites to advance to the final, where they would meet either Thailand or Philippines, given they are in possession of a one-goal lead ahead of Thursday’s second leg at the My Dinh National Stadium, as well as two valuable away goals.
Malaysia: Khairul Fahmi, Mahali Jasuli, Muslim Ahmad, Fadhli Shas, Zubir Azmi, Azamuddin Akil (Indra Putra Mahayuddin 80’), Safiq Rahim, Hafiz Kamal (Gary Robbat 59’), S. Kunanlan, Safee Sali, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (Abdul Manaf Mamat 73’).
Vietnam: Tran Nguyen Manh, Que Ngoc Hai, Dinh Tien Thanh, Le Phuoc Tu, Nguyen Van Bien, Nguyen Huy Hung, Ngo Hoang Thinh (Le Tan Tai 90’), Vo Huy Toan (Nguyen Thanh Hien 84’), Nguyen Van Quyet, Pham Thanh Luong (Mac Hong Quan 59’), Le Cong Vinh.