|In good form: Vietnamese players celebrate after their goal against Brunei last week. Viet Nam will play Malaysia tomorrow. — VNS Photo Tuan Tu
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam and Malaysia will not have their best players in their second Group B clash at Bishan Stadium in Singapore tomorrow.
Vietnamese defender Huynh Tan Tai has been sidelined because of a calf-bone injury that he suffered during a match between Viet Nam and Brunei on Friday.
Tai will come home for treatment, after watching his teammates tomorrow.
Malaysian midfielder Mohd Nazmi Faiz may be sent home, following his red card for a spitting incident during Malaysia's opening match against East Timor on Saturday.
Coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee said the 10-man Malaysian side almost paid the price as Nazmi was given his marching orders in the 32nd minute by referee Foo Chuan Hui of Singapore. Malaysia won the game 1-0 through winger D. Saarvindran's strike in the 11th minute.
An angry Kim Swee said the sending off had affected his game plan and put his side on the back-foot for almost an hour.
"If it's true that his (Nazmi) sending off came after he spat on a player, I'll send him back... I can't accept this kind of behaviour because it made things difficult for the team," Kim Swee said at a post-match press conference.
Angered by a rash challenge by East Timor's Filipe Oliveira, Nazmi spat in retaliation. The incident was spotted by the fourth match official, Yousef Almarzouq.
Nazmi who won a gold medal with Malaysia in the 2011 Games will have to sit out for two matches: one against Viet Nam and the second one against defending champions Thailand on Thursday.
Watching the game from the stands Viet Nam's Duong Vu Lam, the ASEAN Football Federation Vice Chairman, remarked that the Malaysians did not use all their powers.
"I think that they have saved the best players to face us, so we have to be really careful, even though they have no Nazmi in this match," Lam, leader of Viet Nam football delegation, observed.
Some of Kim Swee's key players, such as midfielders Selamat Saiful, Ibrahim Azwari, and striker Sathasivam Kumaahran, were on the bench.
Coach Toshyia Miura agreed with him and said Malaysia were a strong team in the region. While it (Viet Nam vs Malaysia) will be an attractive match for fans, it will also be a difficult task for both sides, and of course he wants to win, he noted.
The Japanese coach already has his plan to fill the hole left by Tai.
Nguyen Thanh Hien and Captain Que Ngoc Hai are dynamic players who are good at the right-wing; this had previously been proven in friendly matches.
Vu Ngoc Thinh, who gave a perfect ball to Le Thanh Binh to score the first goal for Viet Nam against Brunei, can also take charge of the position.
He also has video tapes filmed by his assistants so that he can study Malaysians' style and tactics, as well as the statistics of their corner kicks, free kicks, and others.
The match will be aired live from 7.30pm on VTV6 channel.
The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) has arrested a Singaporean and several others of different nationalities on suspicion of fixing football matches.
Some members of the East Timor SEA Games football team are also assisting the CPIB in its investigations.
Following a tip-off, the CPIB mounted an operation that began in the late hours of May 28 until the early hours of May 29, resulting in the arrests.
Investigations are ongoing against the arrested persons for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act (Chapter 241).
The CPIB said it has been "proactively monitoring" football match-fixing activities in Singapore, particularly with the kick-off of the SEA Games football tournament on Friday.
The South East Asian Games Federation and the Singapore Southeast Asian Games Organising Committee noted that the SEA Games football matches will continue as scheduled. They also approved East Timor's participation after consulting the Asian Football Confederation and the Football Association of Singapore.
Official Lam of Viet Nam said all Vietnamese footballers have been forbidden from communicating with strangers.
"Singapore had been aware of international match-rigging and they had warned all delegations. So we had talked with all our players back home and they are strictly obeying our regulations," said Lam.
Laos beat Brunei for first win
Laos scored their first win at the Southeast Asian Games, beating Brunei 2-1 yesterday in a Group B match at the Bishan Stadium in Singapore.
Midfielder Khochalern Phoutthaysay opened the score in the 11th minute, but Brunei restored parity 57 minutes after, thanks to Ali Rahman Muhammad Azwan.
Striker Natphasouk Soukchinda made it 2-1 in the third quarter of the match, pushing Laos to fourth position with three points after two matches.
Brunei are still at the bottom after two losses. — The Straits Times/VNS