Sports

Vietnam hold off Malaysia to maintain lead

June 12, 2021
Vietnam secured a hard fought 2-1 win against Malaysia on Friday to stay top of Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023. — Courtesy photo
Vietnam secured a hard fought 2-1 win against Malaysia on Friday to stay top of Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023. — Courtesy photo

DUBAI — Vietnam secured a hard fought 2-1 win against Malaysia on Friday to stay top of Group G of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023.

The two teams came into this game on the back of entirely opposing fortunes: Malaysia lost their last match 4-0 against the United Arab Emirates, while Vietnam beat Indonesia 4-0 and cemented their strong position with a win, also avoiding loss so far since the Qualifiers began.

The first chance of the game fell to Vietnam, with Doan Van Hau marauding down the left flank and cutting inside before blasting a shot from range that went through a sea of legs, marginally missing keeper Farizal Marlias’ far post. Nguyen Hoang Duc followed up a few minutes later with a blistering strike from range, but Marlias held.

With 27 minutes gone, Nguyen Tien Linh made amends for a miss just minutes earlier, when following a set-piece, a number of frenzied headers flew across the six-yard box, ended by his header that settled in the net to make the score 1-0.

Malaysia almost drew level five minutes before the break when Syafiq Ahmed headed a perfectly weighted cross straight at goal, but Bui Tan Truong produced a stunning reaction save to tip it away.

Safawi Rasid and Guilherme Lucrecio both missed golden chances as Malaysia pressed for the equalizer, the former’s free-kick hit the post on its way out while the latter’s shot marginally missed the target thanks to a block from the Vietnamese defense.

Malaysia finally got themselves level after Doan Van Hau jumped into Rasid as he was trying to claim a long ball, with the referee pointing to the spot instantly. Lucrecio stepped up and scored on 72 minutes to bring them level on 1-1.

Brendan Gan conceded a penalty with nine minutes left on the clock, and Vietnamese captain Que Ngoc Hai slammed it into the back of the net to take his side 2-1 in front.

The result sends Vietnam into their crucial match against the UAE with a two-point lead, while Malaysia stay in fourth place on nine points and face Thailand in their final tie. — Agencies


June 12, 2021
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