Malaysia remained top of the group despite sharing points with Vietnam in a hard-fought AFF Under-19 match at the National Sports Complex Stadium tonight. The 0-0 draw may just be enough for the Malaysians to advance to the semi-finals.
Malaysia, who won their earlier matches against Timor Leste and Singapore, head Group B with a total of seven points while Vietnam are second with four points. Myanmar are third with four points and have two more matches against Vietnam and Malaysia and still have a chance of making the cut.
For Malaysia, today’s draw has come at a price as their star striker, Muhammad Jafri Muhammad Firdaus Chew, who has netted three goals thus far, had to be replaced after only 17 minutes with a knee injury.
“It was a good game today and I was happy although we did not collect three points. The boys were committed and played to instructions. We must look at winning the next match (against Myanmar), as I said earlier, we must not underestimate any team. On Jafri, it’s his knee and I hope that he will be alright. We’ll see tomorrow,” said Malaysian coach Hassan Sazali Mohd Waras.
Vietnam coach Hoang Anh Tuan said: “It was a fair result for both teams. It’s not just today but I have always said that Malaysia is a strong team.”
There was almost a repeat of the earlier match when Timor Leste scored in the first minute. Unfortunately for Vietnam, Ha Duc Chinh missed giving his team an awesome start when he was a shade off turning in a lovely cross from Lam Thuan.
In the 12th minute, Muhammad Syahmi Safari’s cross was nicely met by Kogileswaran Raj Mohana Raj but the latter’s header was well saved by Nguyen Thanh Tuan. Then, Malaysia suffered a massive blow when their top striker, Muhammad Jafri Muhammad Firdaus Chew, who has scored three goals so far here, was taken out injured. He was replaced by Mohamed Syamer Kutty Abba.
There was loads of action with both sides taking turns attacking their rivals, however, none of their attempts made it through. In the last minute, Vietnam’s Ho Tan Tai whipped in a superb cross and Duc Chinh’s header was goal-bound, however, Malaysian keeper Muhammad Hazrull managed to get his hands on it to keep the score tied at the break.
The fast-paced action continued after the break. Both sides spared no quarters and went flat out in search of the elusive goal. Despite their best efforts, none of their attempts made it through. The best Malaysia and Vietnam had tonight was hitting the post once each.
Myanmar 1 Timor Leste 1
Vietnam 0 Malaysia 0
Aug 28 (Group A)
4.00pm: Philippines vs Cambodia
7.00pm: Brunei vs Thailand
Aug 29 (Group B)
4.00pm: Malaysia vs Myanmar
7.00pm: Singapore vs Vietnam
Aug 30 (Group A)
4.00pm: Thailand vs Cambodia
7.00pm: Laos vs Philippines
Aug 31 (Group B)
4.00pm: Timor Leste vs Singapore
7.00pm: Myanmar vs Vietnam
Note: For full fixtures and details, please go to www.aseanfootball.org