NAYPYITAW, Dec 17 (Bernama) -- The national under-23 squad booked a spot in the 27th Myanmar SEA Games football semi-finals after beating Vietnam 2-1 in their final Group A match at the Zayar Thiri Stadium, here Tuesday.
With the three points collected today, Malaysia topped Group A with 10 points, two points ahead of Singapore who also qualified for the semis.
In the semi-finals, Malaysia is scheduled to meet Group B runner-up Indonesia while Thailand as champions of Group B will meet Singapore on the same day and place.
The pattern of play in the first round was quite balanced when both teams relentlessly attacked but failed to score any goals.
Malaysia missed an opportunity to go ahead when striker Rozaimi Abdul Rahman hesitated during an attempt in front of the opposition's goalmouth.
National goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi Roslan saved Malaysia the blushes after he thwarted an attempt by Le Van Thang in the 11th minute.
In the second half Vietnam, who were hard pressed for a win, played aggressively, launching attack after attack but failed to score.
Midfielder Ashri Chucu succeeded in ending the deadlock when he scored the opening goal after beating Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Buu Ngoc in the 82nd minute.
D. Saarvindran doubled the score in the 89th minute, taking full advantage of a splendid pass by team captain Irfan Fazail.
Vietnam scored a consolation goal in the dying seconds of the match through Mac Hong Quan.
Meanwhile, national coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said he was satisfied with the high discipline of his players who played well despite missing several scoring chances.
From Ahmad Muliady Abdul Majid -- BERNAMA