Group A: Vietnam, Malaysia enjoy flying starts
Kuala Lumpur: Vietnam and Malaysia got their 2018 AFF Cup Group A campaigns off to winning starts on Thursday.
Vietnam, preparing for the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019, defeated Laos 3-0 at the National Stadium KM16 in Vientiane as they kicked off their bid to win the regional title for the first time since 2008.
Malaysia, AFF Cup champions in 2010, showed great discipline in their 1-0 win over Cambodia at the National Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.
LAOS 0-3 VIETNAM
Vientiane: Goals from three different goal scorers steered Vietnam to an opening day 3-0 win over Laos.
Nguyen Cong Phuong, who starred in Vietnam's 2018 AFC U23 Championship run to the final in January, gave the visitors the lead when a quick play between him and Doan Van Hau led to the livewire releasing a strike in the box in the 11th minute.
Just as the game was heading into the half-time break, Laos goalkeeper Saymanolinh Paseuth parried Luong Xuan Truong's shot but Nguyen Anh Duc fired home the loose ball in the second minute of added time to secure a two-goal advantage.
Vietnam continued to dominate proceedings in the second half and in the 68th minute, Nguyen Quang Hai - who also featured in Park Hang-seo's squad in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship, made it 3-0 with a sublime free-kick into the bottom left corner of the net.
CAMBODIA 0-1 MALAYSIA
Phnom Penh: Norshahrul Idlan was Malaysia's hero as his first half goal secured his team a 1-0 win over Cambodia.
Cambodia's Reung Bunheing had the first chance of the game but squandered Chan Vathanaka's pass into the box in the third minute.
Harimau Muda began pushing back and came close in the 15th minute when Syahmi Safari's cross found Zaquan Adha, but Cambodian goalkeeper Um Vichet easily caught the ball.
However, Malaysia finally found their breakthrough in the 30th minute with Norshahrul connecting to Safawi Rasid's cross with a superb header.
Cambodia made numerous attempts to find the equaliser through Chan Vathanaka's efforts but the visitors defended solidly to secure an opening day win.
Malaysia will welcome Laos at home on Monday, while Cambodia play Myanmar.
Photos: Football Association of Malaysia, ASEAN Football Federation