Ten-man Vietnam move into Group B pole position with win over Malaysia at the Asean Championship

VIETNAM brushed aside Nguyen Van Toan’s first-half sending-off to hand Malaysia a 3-0 defeat in Hanoi and move top of the Group B standings at the Asean Championship on Tuesday.

Nguyen Tien Linh put Park Hang-seo’s side in front with a 28th-minute downward header that bounced over the goalline before Van Toan was dismissed four minutes later for a second bookable offense.

His absence did little to affect the Vietnamese, who doubled their advantage in the 64th minute when Que Ngoc Hai scored from the penalty spot after Azam Azmi’s sending-off two minutes earlier left both teams a man short.

Vietnam added a third through Nguyen Hoang Duc with seven minutes remaining to ensure the Vietnamese collected their second win in a row as they look to reclaim the title they won in 2018.

Mr. Park’s team lead the standings on goal difference from Malaysia, who have played one game more, and Singapore following their 2-0 win over Laos earlier in the day.

Irfan Fandi gave the four-times champions a 32nd-minute lead with a header and Shawal Anuar dispossessed Laos goalkeeper Keo Souvannasangso to score his side’s second in the 94th minute to ensure the points were secured by Takayuki Nishigaya’s team.

The opening phase of the Asean Championship will conclude on Jan. 3, when the top two sides in each group progress to the knockout rounds. The semi-finals will be played on a home-and-away basis on Jan. 6 and 9 with the final on Jan. 13 and 16. — Reuters