KUALA LUMPUR: Vietnam have one foot in the AFF Suzuki Cup final after goals by Vo Huy Toan and Nguyen Van Quyet secured the 2008 champions a 2-1 away win over Malaysia in the first leg of their semifinals on Sunday.
The home side were ahead with a Safiq Rahim penalty but Huy Toan levelled in the 32nd minute before Van Quyet fired home the winner on the hour to reward a fine performance at a rain-soaked Shah Alam Stadium.
With the away goals rule in effect, Malaysia will need to score at least twice in the return match in Hanoi on Thursday to advance to the final with either the Philippines or Thailand, who drew 0-0 in the first leg of their semi-final in Manila on Saturday.
Malaysia had beaten Vietnam 2-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals in 2010 en route to winning the title and a repeat of that result looked to be on the cards when Safiq sent goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh the wrong way from the spot in the 14th minute after Nguyen Huy Hung had handled in his box.
But the pace of the Vietnamese attack caused problems all evening for a Malaysia defence missing the suspended Shukor Adan, and the visitors got back on level terms just after the half-hour when Van Quyet’s low drive was parried by Malaysia goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat to an unmarked Huy Toan, who fired the ball home.
Vietnam continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack in the second half and they notched a crucial second goal in the 60th minute after Van Quyet received the ball on the right of the Malaysian box from Mac Hong Quan and cut inside defender Zubir Azmi before bending the ball past Khairul Fahmi.
Vietnam nearly added a third when Huy Tuan just failed to make contact with Van Quyet’s cross, but Malaysia could have levelled right at the end as substitute Indra Putra Mahayuddin headed wide in stoppage time. AFP