It was a match which both teams desperately needed the points but in the end, it was Vietnam who emerged victorious as they beat Malaysia 3-1 in a crucial tie of Group A at the Main Stadium in Vientiane, Sunday afternoon.
Vietnam had held defending champions Thailand 1-1 in their first group game while for the Malaysians, they had overwhelmed Timor Leste 14-0 two days earlier.
The early pressure from Vietnam put the Malaysian defence under a lot of pressure and they duly won a penalty due a handball in the 13th minute which was converted by Phan Thanh Binh.
In the 25th minute of play, a defensive mistake allowed Mai Tien Thanh to put Vietnam comfortably 2-0 in front while a minute later an own goal from Vo Hoang Quang, who headed in the intended cross from Safiq Rahim, gave Malaysia the chance of a fight back.
But it never came and as the Vietnam defence stood their ground.
The Vietnamese ended the first half with their third goal of the game with a Nguyen Troang Hoang grounder.
The second half saw Vietnam sitting back on their lead and which seem to frustrate the Malaysians into making mistakes.
And as their frustration grew, striker Mohd Zaquan Adha Abdul Razak was sent-off from the field of play for a rash tackle.