AFF Suzuki Cup Group B: Indonesia, Vietnam seize control on matchday 3
Both teams make their claim for top spot with dominant performances in their respective matches.
Indonesia and Vietnam picked up emphatic wins on Matchday 3 in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup, as the race for the two semi-final spots began to take shape.
Indonesia beat Laos 5-1 behind a convincing performance, as they now lead Group B on goal difference.
The Garudas took a 2-1 lead in the first half. Asnawi Mangkualam converted a powerful penalty and later assisted teammate Irfan Jaya, before Laos pulled one back through Kydavone Souvanny.
But any hopes of a Laos comeback were quickly diminished in the second half. The Laotians, led by Singaporean V. Selvaraj, had no answers for the clinical Indonesians as they scored thrice in the second half through Witan Sulaeman, Ezra Walian and captain Evan Dimas.
The other Group B encounter saw reigning champions Vietnam take on Malaysia in the rematch of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 final.
The Vietnamese made their breakthrough in the 32nd minute through Nguyen Quang Hai. The 2018 Most Valuable Player left Malaysian goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat hapless with a fiercely-hit shot from inside the box.
Three minutes later, Quang Hai turned provider for Nguyen Cong Phuong. The striker, sent through on goal, turned his marker and produced a tidy finish.
The commanding Vietnamese victory was concluded with a minute left from full-time, when midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc’s low left-footed grounded shot rendered Khairul Fahmi helpless as the ball trickled into the back of the net.
The defeat was Malaysia’s first of the tournament, and put them in a precarious position, with Indonesia and Vietnam now occupying the top two spots.
Both teams will face each other next on Dec 15, with victory for either team virtually securing the top spot in the group, while winless Laos and Cambodia play each other.