MD3 - Group G: Vietnam 1-0 Malaysia
Hanoi: Vietnam got their Asian Qualifiers campaign back on track after defeating Malaysia 1-0 in Group G at the My Dinh National Stadium on Thursday.
Vietnam broke the deadlock at the stroke of half-time through Nguyen Quang Hai as the 2018 AFF Cup champions added three points to the one they had collected against Thailand in a 0-0 draw on Matchday One.
It was Malaysia's second consecutive defeat after having fallen 2-1 to United Arab Emirates on Matchday Two, having opened their campaign with a 3-2 win over Indonesia.
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Vietnam imposed themselves on the match from the start but it was Malaysia who had the first glimpse at goal, as Syafiq Ahmad met Safawi Rasid's corner only for Vietnam goalkeeper Dang Van Lam to parry the ball to safety.
Although Vietnam continued to dictate terms, Malaysia had another chance to get in front in the 23rd minute but Mohamadou Sumareh wasted the opportunity when he failed to control La'Vere Corbin-Ong’s throw-in.
Vietnam continued to pressure their opponents and their persistence almost paid off in the 27th minute but they had a goal ruled out after Quang Hai was flagged offside.
Quang Hai, however, made amends in the 40th minute when Que Ngoc Hai’s lob found the Vietnam playmaker who beat the offside trap to steer a left-footed volley past Mohd Farizal Marlias.
The tempo of the game slowed down after the second half with Vietnam enjoying the majority of possession as Malaysia hardly threatened despite the introduction of Akhyar Rashid, who replaced veteran striker Norshahrul Idlan Talaha in the 56th minute.
Vietnam almost doubled their lead in the 72nd minute when substitute Nguyen Anh Duc gained possession inside the danger area but his effort was saved on the line by Malaysia defender Shahrul Saad.
Next up for Vietnam is a trip to Indonesia on Tuesday, while Malaysia will face Thailand on November 14.