Vietnam oust Malaysia to advance to quarter-finals of 2024 AFC U-23 Asian Cup

With the latest win, Vietnam now eyes finishing Group D at the top.

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Vietnam defeated their regional rival Malaysia by 2-0 in their second match of Group D at the AFC U-23 Asian Cup 2024 on April 20.

 Vietnamese forward Bui Vi Hao (white, 11) was fouled inside the penalty box. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation

Both teams were familiar with each other’s playing style. Neither team made any difference in the final third of the pitch.

The turning point came in the 39th minute as Khuat Van Khang, playing as a left wingback, fired a 22-meter free kick into the far corner of Malaysia’s goal to break the deadlock.

In the remaining time of the first half, Malaysia made several attempts on Vietnam’s goal, but their poor decision-making and finishing brought nothing in return.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s defense was still questionable as the players were uncomfortable dealing with the set pieces.

Entering the second half, Vietnam slowed down the play and tried to keep control of the ball. The new approach helped them cool off the tempo and prevented opponents from getting close to the penalty box.

In the 58th minute, Vietnam received a penalty after substitute striker Bui Vi Hao was fouled inside the box.

Midfielder Vo Hoang Minh Khoa extended the lead for Vietnam. He got lucky as the Malaysian goalkeeper almost denied his placed shot.

In the remaining minutes, Malaysia sent their defensive lines higher and pushed the tempo up. They exploited both flanks to make as many crosses as possible and had some shots on goal.

Vietnam were able to keep their net clean until the final whistle.

In the other match, Uzbekistan beat Kuwait by 5-0 to take the lead in Group D.

With the results, Uzbekistan and Vietnam will surely qualify for the quarter-finals with two victories. The two teams will meet on the night of April 23 to decide which one will lead Group D.

Speaking of the players in the post-match press conference, head coach Hoang Anh Tuan credited the team for their improvements.

“I’m pleased with the result. It was a hard-fought battle,” he said. “We deserve the win. The players performed better than the previous match, and accomplished the game plan comprehensively.”

Tuan expected the players will remain calm and fully concentrated for the clash against Uzbekistan next week.

“We should do our best. The tournament is a good chance for the players to gain experiences, thus benefiting their future.”