| KUALA LUMPUR (26 Oct 2008) – Vietnam beat hosts Malaysia 6-5 in sudden death penalty to lift the 40th edition of the Merdeka Cup in the final that was played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The score at the end of regulation and extra-time was 0-0.
The Malaysians who had confidently swept past all their opponents in the preliminary round as well as in the semi-finals found the defensive-minded side from Vietnam hard to crack.
And while they did start the match confidently when Indra Putra Mahayuddin blasted the lead in the sixth minute, the linesmen had already flagged for off-side much to the relief of the visitors.
At the end of the first half, the frustration began to show as the Malaysians just can’t find the right breakthrough against a Vietnam side that depended a lot on quick counter-attacks.
Try as hard as Mohd Shukor Adan and Co. to go in front, the excellent showing of Vietnam keeper Bui Tan Truong in between the posts forced the game into the dreaded extra-time which also did not give the desired result.
But in the sudden-death penalty shootout, Malaysian defender Norhafiz Zamani Misbah failed to put it past Tan Truong as substitute Mai Tien Thanh then slotted home for the winner.