In an article titled “AFF Suzuki Cup 2018: Malaysia fights back against Vietnam to stay alive”, Fox Sports Asia described the match as “an enthralling encounter in front of a crowd that had to be more than the official attendance of 88,482”.
Vietnam had a good start with two goals scored in the 22nd and 25th minutes by Nguyen Huy Hung and Pham Duc Huy.
“The Golden Dragons could easily have added a third a minute after the half-hour mark when Nguyen Quang Hai’s lovely slide-rule pass sent Ha Duc Chinh racing through, but he could only shoot straight at Farizal,” the newspaper wrote with regret.
With two potentially crucial away goals, Vietnam is in possession of the second leg at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on December 15, it added.
Sharing the same view, the website Goal.com said “Malaysia fought hard to come from behind to draw 2-2 with Vietnam in the first leg of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup and faces a difficult return leg”.
“Despite the gallant effort to claw back from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, the two away goals conceded to Vietnam will weigh heavily on the mind of Malaysia’s head coach Tan Cheng Hoe,” it wrote in its article titled “Draw in KL sees Vietnam gain two away goals advantage”.
“Vietnam produced more of an attacking display than what fans would have been accustomed to in the competition this year, and Malaysia struggled to cope with the precision and sharpness of their guests on the night”.
The article highlighted Vietnamese coach Park Hang-seo’s changes in the line-up when opting to drop Nguyen Anh Duc and Luong Xuan Truong to the bench with Ha Duc Chinh and Nguyen Huy Hung preferred from the start.
“It was a physical approach adopted by Vietnam in defence which unsettled the likes of Zaquan Adha and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, which led to the duo unable to influence the game,” the article wrote.
“The draw means that Vietnam will go away from this match the happier of the two teams, knowing full well that they will have a noisy home crowd behind them at My Dinh Stadium for them to finish the job,” it added.
Channel News Asia also agreed that Vietnam will go into December 15’s return leg in Hanoi as favourites, thanks to their two away goals as both nations attempt to win the regional title for the second time.