A marvelous free kick from Khuat Van Khang and a confident penalty from Vo Hoang Minh Khoa were enough to grant Coach Hoang Anh Tuan's team the necessary three points and the upper hand in the race for the quarterfinals.

Two changes were made by coach Tuan, with Nguyen Manh Hung and Nguyen Van Truong replacing the suspended Nguyen Ngoc Thang and the injured Nguyen Dinh Bac.

Bui Vi Hao (11) and his teammates encounter a tough early game against Malaysia, but ultimately came out on top.

Malaysia, needing a victory to keep qualification hopes alive, went all out in the opening minutes. Scotland-born striker Fergus Tierney had the first dangerous chance of the game, firing a shot that went centimeters wide.

Tierney's teammate, Mukhairi Ajmal had a similar chance, but this time his effort was on target and forced a save from keeper-captain Quan Van Chuan.

Vietnam slowly reclaimed their control, and Minh Khoa almost scored the opener for Vietnam in the 18th minute, but keeper Amin saved his point-blank header. Malaysia then retaliated with two attempts on goal, after clumsy mistakes in the Vietnamese defense.

The breakthrough for the Golden Star Warriors came in the 37th minute, after Vo Nguyen Hoang had his shirt pulled by Ubaidullah near Malaysia's six-yard box.

From around twenty meters, Van Khang fired a wonderful free kick into the top corner with his left foot and opened the score for Vietnam. Fans on social media went wild and even made comparisons to goals from Nguyen Quang Hai and Lionel Messi.

In the final minutes of the first half, Malaysia piled up the pressure, but Vietnam’s defense stayed strong and protected the one goal lead.

After the break, Tuan directed his team to slow down play and tighten up the defense. He subbed off two strikers in Nguyen Van Tung and Nguyen Hoang, and brought on Bui Vi Hao and defender Nguyen Hong Phuc.

And just like the previous match against Kuwait, Tuan's substitutions were splendidly on point. In the 58th minute, Vi Hao was brought down inside the penalty area after a menacing dribble, and Iranian referee Mooud Bonyadifard pointed directly to the spot.

Minh Khoa, who had a goal disallowed in the last match, took the penalty confidently and doubled Vietnam’s lead.

With nothing left to lose, Malaysia put all their men forward in the final fifteen minutes. Their best effort came in the first minute of added time, with a vicious volley from Luqman Hakim, but Van Chuan pulled off a perfect save to deny the Malaysian winger. The match ended with a crucial 2-0 victory for Vietnam.

"I am very happy to score a goal that helped my team take a step closer to qualification," said goal scorer Khuat Van Khang, "You can't be sure of anything in football, and we will look to take it one game at a time."

Việt Nam awaits the late match between Uzbekistan and Jordan; a win or draw for Uzbekistan would confirm Vietnam’s third consecutive advancement to the quarterfinals of the AFC U23 Asian Cup. Hoang Anh Tuan's team will face Uzbekistan in the final match of Group D on April 23.

Source: VNA