Malaysia stunned by vibrant Vietnam in SEA Games
SINGAPORE -- Vietnam ruthlessly put Malaysia to the sword with a 5-1 thrashing to make it two wins out of two in Group B of the 28th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at Bishan Stadium on Tuesday night.
Vietnam dominated through a Nguyen Cong Phuong brace, coupled with a superb lob from Nguyen Van Toan and penalties by Mac Hong Quan and Vo Huy Toan. It means that Toshiya Miura's side have now scored 11 goals in two matches to sit top of the group, ahead of defending champions Thailand.
Malaysia started the match on the ascendancy, despite Vietnam coming into the game high on confidence.
With barely a minute on the clock, Harimau Muda found their way into the Vietnamese half. It was Pahang FA's D. Saarvindran who rifled in a free-kick that Phi Minh Long acrobatically tipped over the bar.
Ong Kim Swee's men continued to pour forward but were almost caught out with 10 minutes on the clock when Huy Toan drilled the ball past Farhan Bakar, only for referee Turki Alkhudhayr to blow for offside.
Vietnam took the lead against the run of play four minutes later when Adam Nor Azlin brought down Cong Phuong in the box to give away a penalty; Hong Quan stepped up and hit it straight down the middle to give Miura's side a 1-0 lead.
Malaysia kept pushing forward, with the likes of Nurridzuan Hassan, Fandi Othman and Saarvindran probing the Vietnamese defence.
Fandi Othman and Nurridzuan Hassan combined well in the 22nd minute but the final ball left much to be desired.
Next up, it was Ahmad Syafiq who put Saarvindran through two minutes later but the latter's firm shot was kept out by Minh Long to keep Vietnam's lead intact.
Vietnam then almost doubled their advantage when Huy Toan's 33rd minute corner bobbled into the box. It landed at the feet of Ho Ngoc Thang who thumped the ball low and hard, only to see it go out for another corner.
But it was Cong Phuong who broke Malaysian hearts on the stroke of half time when he found his way through from Ngoc Thang's ball and placed a shot beyond a hapless Farhan.
With less than two minutes on the clock in the second half, Farhan rushed off his line and hacked down Cong Phuong to give the Vietnamese a second penalty on the night. Huy Toan made it 3-0 with a cool finish from the spot.
Things went from bad to worse for Harimau Muda some six minutes later when Cong Phuong scored his second goal of the game with a fantastic free kick into the top corner to make it four without reply.
Malaysia finally broke down a stubborn Vietnamese defence when Nurridzuan found space down the right before cutting the ball back for Syahrul Azwari to make it 4-1.
Yet there was no mercy as Vietnam restored their four goal advantage with a neat flick by Van Toan with 11 minutes remaining.
With the win, the Golden Stars have put themselves in a strong position to make the semifinals.
Vietnam will be gunning for their third successive victory against Timor-Leste on Friday while Malaysia are involved in a blockbuster showdown with Choketawee Promrat's Thailand on Thursday.
Malaysia: Farhan Bakar (GK), Fandi Othman (C), Matthew Davies, Adam Azlin Nor, Saiful Ridzuwan (Syahrul Azwari Ibrahim 45'), Amer Saidin, Nurridzuan Hassan, Amirul Hisyam, Gary Steven Robbat (Ariff Farhan 72'), D. Saarvindran (Faizat Ghazali 57'), Ahmad Syafiq
Vietnam: Phi Minh Long (GK), Nguyen Huu Dung, Nguyen Minh Tung (Vu Ngoc Thinh 55'), Do Duy Manh, Que Ngoc Hai (C), Bui Tien Dung, Vo Huy Toan, Nguyen Cong Phuong (Phi Son Tran 66'), Nguyen Thanh Hien, Ho Ngoc Thang (Nguyen Van Toan 71'), Mac Hong Quan