BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia had to claw their way back into the AFF Championship final, to record a 2-2 draw at home against Vietnam in the first leg match.
Malaysia vs Vietnam match highlights
Farizal Marlias - 8/10 (Man of the Match)
Could have not done any better to stop the two Vietnam goals, but the goalkeeper rose to the occassion multiple times to rush off his line, make big saves and keep the hosts in the game.
Farizal Marlias. Photo from AFF
Amirul Azhan - 6/10
Starting in his first game as replacement for the suspended Syahmi Safari, the right back did well enough against a very good Vietnam side, before he himself had to come off in the second half. He also showed his potential in attack, sending in a few teasing crosses into the box.
Irfan Zakaria - 5/10
Again the weakest link in the team, the centre back failed to shield the hosts' danger area, leading to the two goals they conceded.
Shahrul Saad - 7/10
The best defender of the night, but without the experienced Aidil Zafuan partnering him, the centre back could not organise the defence as well as Aidil could. But what he lacked in keeping it airtight in the back, he made up with his headed goal at a crucial point in the match.
Nazirul Naim - 6/10
The left back had a good game, but the replacement for the injured Syazwan Andik only lasted 36 minutes, before he himself had to be taken off for an injury.
Akram Mahinan - 6/10
The midfielder played generally well to keep the possession in midfield in Malaysia's hands, but made a couple of mistakes towards the end of the match that were fortunately not punished by the opponents.
Syamer Kutty Abba - 7/10
The midfielder did what was asked of him, and even bagged an assist, through his freekick that was headed in by Shahrul for the hosts' first goal. Was booked for a professional foul in the second half.
Mohamadou Sumareh - 7/10
It was evident that the left winger wasn't able to shake off his fitness problems, but he kept going, taking on defenders and attacking Vietnam players in their own half, knowing that he was the only Malaysia player with the technique as well as the confidence to do so.
Norshahrul Idlan Talaha - 6/10
The forward worked hard all night to help the Malayan Tigers in midfield, but was not as effective in front of the goalmouth as he surely would have liked to be.
Safawi Rasid - 7/10
The left winger wasn't able to make a bigger impact in the match with his runs, but was finally able to break his duck, his free kick goal tying the game after Malaysia had earlier gone two goals down. A later free kick of his could have given them the win, but this time Vietnam goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm did a lot better to keep his accurate attempt out. Malaysia fans will be hoping that the goal will help improve his confidence ahead of the away leg.
Zaquan Adha - 6/10
The striker was diligently helping the attack get the ball into the danger area, holding the ball outside the Vietnam box in order to await the other attackers' arrival. But he wasn't clinical enough in such an important match.
Adam Nor Azlin - 6/10
Came on in the first half as Nazirul Naim's replacement, showed awkwardness in the left back position and was yellow carded for a clumsy challenge, but grew into the role in the second half and made several of his trademark last-minute tackles.
Syafiq Ahmad - 6/10
The forward was employed in a makeshift role as a right wingback, coming on for Amirul at the hour mark. He looked a little unfamiliar at first, and was booked for dissent just eight minutes later, but ultimately did sufficiently.
Akhyar Rashid - 6/10
The young forward came on for Norshahrul with 20 minutes remaining, showing intent to have a go at the defenders, but struggled to combine well with the midfielders and other forwards. He often tried getting past the opponent players from near the middle of the park, when passing it and moving into space would have been a better option.
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