The Vietnamese football team lift the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup after beating Malaysia 1-0 in the second-leg final match in Hanoi on December 15. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA)
– The Vietnamese football team won applauds from international media after beating Malaysia 1-0 in the second-leg final match of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in Hanoi on December 15.

“An early goal by Nguyen Anh Duc proved decisive as Vietnam beat Malaysia 1-0 at My Dinh National Stadium on Saturday to lift the AFF Suzuki Cup for the second time,” the French news agency AFP reported.

“Vietnam had the benefit of two away goals from the first leg and they made an excellent start in Hanoi, taking the lead when Nguyen Quang Hai's chip from the left found Anh Duc, whose left-footed volley was too powerful for goalkeeper Farizal Marlias to keep out of his net.”

The US’s Associated Press (AP) also highlighted Vietnam’s early goal by striker Nguyen Anh Duc in the sixth minute after a cross from playmaker Nguyen Quang Hai, adding that “the win showed the progress made by Vietnam since Park Hang-seo became head coach.”

The UK-based Reuters ran an article “Vietnam win ASEAN title thanks to Anh Duc volley,” saying “Vietnam last won the regional title in 2008 and Anh Duc's fine first-half strike ensured Park Hang-seo's side overcame a robust Malaysia team to send the majority of the sold-out crowd at the My Dinh Stadium into raptures.”

The Fox Sports Asia ran various headlines about Vietnam’s victory. “With just six minutes on the clock, Vietnam broke free down the left and Nguyen Quang Hai found enough space to chip a neat ball to the back post, which Anh Duc met with a sweetly-struck volley that Farizal Marlias got a hand to but could not keep out,” according to an article named “Vietnam see off Malaysia to win AFF Suzuki Cup 2018” published by Gabriel Tan on the Fox Sports Asia.

“As the game entered its closing stages, Vietnam showed just why they have been the best team in the tournament, keeping things tight at the back and showing excellent professionalism to see out the contest and be crowned champions of Southeast Asia,” Tan wrote.

The Malaysia-based New Straits Times reported Malaysian coach Tan Cheng Hoe admitted that the early goal by Vietnam "destroyed" all his plans for the game and it affected his players’ confidence.

“In the previous match (on December 11), we did a comeback, but this time, the players could not score and some scoring opportunities went begging," the news outlet quoted Tan as saying.

Tan Cheng Hoe's men gave it their all in Hanoi but were ultimately thwarted by resolute Vietnamese defending and goalkeeper Dang Van Lam, The Star from Malaysia reported.

A number of online news outlets from the Republic of Korea, the home country of coach Park Hang-seo, for example, Chosun.com, Nocutnews.co.kr, Sports Khan and Sports Seoul, also highlighted the Vietnamese team’s win over Malaysia in their stories.

Nguyen Anh Duc’s unstoppable left-footed volley completed the “Park Hang-seo’s magic.” The Vietnamese football team led by coach Park lifted the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup again after waiting for ten years, Sports Khan said. –VNA