|Norshahrul Idlan Talaha celebrates after scoring a goal during the Group A match against Laos in the AFF Suzuki Cup at Stadium Bukit Jalil. — The Star Photo|Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — It was a nervous affair for Malaysia as they were made to wait till the closing stages of the game to seal their second victory of the AFF Suzuki Cup Group A match yesterday.
In their first home match, Tan Cheng Hoe’s side delighted the 12,000-strong crowd with a 3-1 win, even though the team were made to sweat by the compact and resolute Laos side led by Singaporean coach V Sundramoorthy.
Laos drew first blood in the 6th minute when Phithack Kongmathilath thumped in a free-kick past hapless Malaysian goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat.
The goal woke Malaysia up from as Harimau Malaya piled on the pressure with some slick passes and enterprising play.
The pressure paid off after Mohamad Zaquan Adha Abd Radzak finished off a brilliant passage of play between Muhammad Safawi Rasid and Muhammad Syahmi Safari in the 14th minute.
In the second-half, Malaysia upped the ante but were guilty of missing several good chances. Laos goalkeeper Saymanolinh Praseuth was also impressive as he foiled several attempts.
In the 85th minute, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha proved to be the hero for Malaysia after he bundled in the ball in for Malaysia’s second goal.
In the 90th minute, the veteran forward capped his night by scoring a second to gift Malaysia to a 3-1 win.
Malaysia won their first game when Norshahrul’s solitary goal edged Cambodia in last week’s Group A match at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh.
Malaysia will next face Việt Nam in Hà Nội on Friday while Laos must recover for the visit of Myanmar.
Also on the same day, Myanmar came from behind to defeat Cambodia 4-1 to open their AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 campaign with a win. Myanmar next travel to face Laos in Vientiane on Friday, while Cambodia have a week to recover ahead of their home match against Laos. — The Star/VNS