Malaysia edge Vietnam for SEA Games gold

VIENTIANE – Malaysia won the SEA Games gold for the first time in 20 years after K. Rajagopal’s side edged Vietnam 1-0 in the 2009 tournament final on Thursday.

Vietnam, looking to do the SEA Games football double after the women’s team had defeated Thailand on penalties a day earlier, dominated the game but were punished for the failure to translate their early pressure into goals when Malaysia broke the deadlock with seven minutes left to play although their was more than a touch of fortune about the Malaysians’ winner.

Safiq Rahim whipped in a dangerous cross from the left which Vietnam defender Mai Xun Hop could only direct into his own net in his haste to clear the danger.

The victory was Malaysia’s first gold medal win since 1989 when they defeated Singapore 3-1 on home soil.

Singapore, meanwhile, won bronze for the sixth time in the history of the tournament by defeating hosts Laos 3-1.

Khairul Nizam opened the scoring in the 23rd minute before Fazli Ayob doubled Singapore’s advantage eight minutes after the interval.

Fadhil Noh added a third in the 87th minute before Thailand-based striker Lamnao Singto gave the home fans something to cheer about when he netted a consolation for Laos a minute from full-time.(afc)

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