Malaysia 2 - 3 Vietnam

Vietnam edged past Malaysia 3-2 on the second matchday of Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 to brighten their chances of making the next round of the championship.

The Vietnamese, who had conceded a 2-0 loss to hosts Thailand in the first game, took the lead in the 17th minute off Pham Thanh Luong before Nguyen Vu Phong added a brace with goals in the 72nd and 86th minute. Malaysia scored both their goals off Indra Putra Mahayuddin in the 20th and 85th minute.

Given the importance of the match, both teams started off a lot more cautious as they assess each other's parameters of strength and weakness. But it took Malaysia less than two minutes to test Vietnam keeper Duong Hong Son when striker Mohd Safee Sali blasted in a shot which was denied. Vietnam then press forward and in the 17th minute, they took the lead when Nguyen Vu Phong rifled in a shot from 25metres out past a rooted Mohd Helmi Eliza Elias to send the few hundred Vietnam faithful all dressed in red to a frenzy.

But their lead did not last long. Malaysia strung two passes together and off a shot from Mohd Zaquan Adha which came off the crossbar, Indra Putra Mahayuddin was waiting in the wings to slot the ball home. The goal drew cries of off-side from the Vietnam bench but referee P. Pandian stood by his decision and following the incessant arguing from Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto, duly sent the Portuguese to the stand. The game took a low key after the emphatic two goals with Indra again coming close which was parried over by Hong Son in the 33rd minute while some time later, Zaquan almost doubled the lead for the Malaysian but his attempt was denied by a recovering defender.

And while Malaysia created several clear chances with Safee's attempt coming off the crossbar in the 71st minute, there was no denying Vietnam the lead a minute later when Vu Phong blasted in the goal off a cross from the centre of the park. But Malaysia fought back in the 85th minute when Indra Putra Mahayuddin swerved in a freekick to put both teams on level terms. And while Malaysia were entertaining thoughts that they would at least get a point from this tie, Helmi conceded a mistake a minute later when he misdjudged a lob from Vu Phong for the ball to bounce into an open goal.

Thailand 6 - 0 Laos

Thailand confirmed their place in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 when they blasted Laos 6-0 in their second match of Group B here at the Surakul Stadium.

The Thais, who had beaten Vietnam 2-0 in their first game, made sure of the win with goals off Suree Sukha in the 20th minute, Pattipan Phetphun (30th minute), Arthit Sunthornphit (40th and 52nd minute) and Anon Sangsanoi (79th and 89th). The low-key match for the hosts gave them the confidence to field an almost second stringers with Suree Sukha and Niweat Siriwong the only two familiar faces in the Thai starting line-up.

But in spite of the heavy rain, the more than 10,000 fans were at the stadium for a show, a football show of attacking football and that was what they got. Playing in slipper conditions do not make for the slick passes that the hosts were famous for but they did have enough talent in their second squad to put pressure on the largely inexperienced Laotian.

Ronnachai Rangsiyo tested Laos keeper Sengpachan Bounthisanh with a grounder early in the fourth minute which missed the upright while several minutes later, Arthit Sunthornphit's freekick forced a clearance from Laos defender Saynakhonevieng Phommapanya on the line. But in the 20th minute, Vietnam finally went ahead when Suree scored the opener with a superb flick. Laos tried to get back into the match when they introduced Phayvanh Lounglath but it was the Thais who went further ahead with the second goal of the game when Pattipan Phetphun blasted in a corner right at the half hour mark. And five minutes to the break, the Thais went 3-0 up when Arthit floated in a freekick for them to be comfortably in front.

Thailand continued very much in the same vein after the break as Arthit nailed his second of the evening and Thailand's fourth goal with another well-taken freekick on 52nd minute. Anon Sangsanoi then grabbed a brace for himself with two goals in the closing stages – the first from inside the box in the 79th minute and then a swerving freekick a minute to the end.

Next Fixtures;

9/12/08 - Group A
17:00 : Indonesia v Singapore
19:30 : Myanmar v Cambodia

10/12/08 - Group B
17:00 : Thailand v Malaysia
19:30 : Vietnam v Laos


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