HANOI (Reuters) – Malaysia booked a spot in the AFF Suzuki Cup final against Thailand after ripping through a porous Vietnam backline to claim an upset 4-2 second-leg win on Thursday.
The 5-4 aggregate victory for the 2010 champions came courtesy of a four-goal first-half burst, and they will travel to Bangkok for the first leg of the final on Wednesday confident of avenging a 3-2 group stage defeat by the Thais.
“I’m surprised that Vietnam, especially in defence, made so many mistakes,” Malaysian coach Dollah Salleh told reporters.
“I hope the performance tonight we can carry to the final.”
The hosts, heavily tipped to reach a third final, were 2-0 down in Hanoi within 16 minutes after slapdash defending from the same line-up that had performed so well in earning a 2-1 win in the first leg of the semi on Sunday.
Malaysia recalled veteran forward Indra Putra Mahayuddin for the second leg and he immediately made an impact by earning a penalty in the second minute after being felled by a clumsy challenge.
Skipper Safiq Rahim stepped up to send the goalkeeper the wrong way at the second attempt after the Japanese official demanded a retake following a successful first effort.