AFF Suzuki Cup: Malaysia and Indonesia reach final
Malaysia and Indonesia have qualified for the final of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, the tournament for south east Asian nations, after both teams overcame defending champions Vietnam and the Philippines in their respective semi-finals.
Malaysia held a 2-0 first leg lead going into their return fixture in Hanoi on Saturday as title holders Vietnam were desperate to reach their second consecutive final. Alas the game petered out into a goalless draw with the 40,000 crowd in the My Dinh stadium going home disappointed. The major talking point of a game few and far between in highlights was the 72nd minute red card shown to Vietnam’s Pham Thanh Luong who dived in the box following an attempt to gain the ball on a rare attack. Malaysia held on with ease to register a place in the final of this tournament for only the second time and will want to go one better than in their first appearance in the inaugural event in 1996 where they lost 1-0 to Thailand.
In the other semi-final Uruguay-born Cristian Gonzáles proved to be the decisive figure in both legs of Indonesia’s 2-0 aggregate victory over the Philippines. It was Gonzáles who scored the only goal in the first leg played on Thursday to give Indonesia a slender advantage going into today’s second leg match-up. Indonesia had him to thank yet again in the 43rd minute of the second leg with a stunning strike hit from 25 yards out, flying into the top right-hand corner, giving Philippines keeper Neil Etheridge no chance. Gonzáles is now the tournament’s top scorer with three goals and he will have a chance to cement his status in the two-legged final with Malaysia.
The first leg of the final takes place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on December 26th with the return fixture playing in Djakarta, Indonesia, three days later.