Van Tung scored a brace to help Vietnam beat Malaysia 2-1 and secure a place in the semi-finals of the 32nd SEA Games.
The match got off to a good start for Vietnam when they were awarded a penalty in the fifth minute. Adam Afkar handled the ball inside the box after Minh Trong’s shot, but Van Tung’s spot-kick was saved by goalkeeper Izhan. However, the 21-year-old striker followed up and scored from the rebound despite being under pressure from behind.
The early goal made the match more exciting as Malaysia had to push forward to score points. Vietnam pressed high to take advantage of the situation and won the ball in the opponent’s field several times but missed the opportunities to score. In the 33rd minute, from a long ball to Tuan Tai’s left wing, Minh Trong crossed to the near post where Van Tung headed home to double the lead.
Van Tung’s goal put him at the top of the 32nd SEA Games top scorer race with four goals, tied with Indonesian player Fajar Fathur Rahman. In Vietnam’s three previous victories, Van Tung had opened the scoring in each match.
Malaysia struggled to create chances until the 40th minute when they began to put more pressure on Vietnam. In the 43rd minute, they pulled one back when Aiman Arif scored from a free-kick taken by Aliff Izwan. The goal changed the momentum of the game, with Malaysia playing more determinedly and Vietnam looking nervous. Vietnam almost lost their lead just before halftime when Izwan faced Van Chuan after a pass from Mukhairi Ajmal but missed the target.
In the second half, Vietnam continued to feel the pressure from Malaysia, and coach Troussier had to make early substitutions to strengthen the defense. Akmal Kamal had a chance to equalize for Malaysia in the 60th minute, but his shot hit the post. Vietnam’s captain, Van Chuan, also made a mistake in the 70th minute, but he managed to clear the ball from Akmal Kamal’s shot.
As the match entered its final stages, Vietnam’s luck changed when Muhamad Safwan fouled Thanh Nhan and received a red card. Malaysia’s frustration boiled over three minutes later when Akmal Kamal was sent off for a second yellow card, leaving them with only nine men. Vietnam held on to their lead to secure their place in the semi-finals.
After the match, the Malaysian players protested to the Japanese referee Jumpei Iida, who had shown the red card to Safwan. Vietnam now has six points and is tied with Thailand in Group B, but they are second due to a poorer goal difference. Their match against Thailand on May 11 will determine who finishes top of the group.