The magic of director Kim Pan-gon 스포츠토토 (54) worked. Malaysia took one step closer to the final stage by defeating the ‘defending champion’ Thailand.

Malaysia, led by coach Kim Pan-gon, defeated Thailand 1-0 in the first leg of the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup semi-final held at Jalil National Stadium in Bukit, Kuala Lumpur on the 7th at 9:30 (Korean time).

Malaysia scored the first goal in the 10th minute. Rubentiran Bengadessan headed a cross from the right, and ‘Malaysian Messi’ Paisa Halim jumped in and put his foot on it. The ball passed the goalkeeper and shook the net.

Thailand, which conceded the first goal, launched an offensive. Thailand threatened the Malaysian defense with organic passing play, but it didn’t come to fruition. In the 21st minute of the first half, Tiracin Dangda’s left-footed mid-range shot went wide of the goal, and in the 24th minute of the first half, Bodin Farah’s turning shot into the box went over the goal.

Malaysia missed the chance to run away. In the 28th minute of the first half, Halim hit through the center and handed a perfect penetrating pass to Quentin Cheng who went back into the space on the right. However, Cheng’s shot shot high over the goal.

Thailand cried over bad luck at goal. In the 1st minute of the second half, Suphanan Burirat, who caught the ball from the right side, raised a sharp cross to the center, followed by a header. However, the ball hit the left goalpost and bounced off.

Malaysia once again shook Thailand’s net, but a foul was declared. In the 10th minute of the second half, goalkeeper Kitipong Putachuek jumped out from a free kick situation, but could not hit the ball properly. Dominic Tan cut the net by hitting the ball straight to the head, but referee Kim Dae-yong declared the goal cancelled after long discussions with the assistant referees.

A battle of nerves broke out between the players of both teams. Thai players strongly protested, claiming Malaysia’s foul play, and clashed with Malaysia claiming that it was not. Because there was no video review (VAR), referee Kim Dae-yong could not easily make a decision, and the game resumed only after more than 4 minutes. Manager Kim Pan-gon protested with a firm face, but his decision did not change.

This time, Thailand strongly protested the referee’s decision. In the 38th minute of the second half, Bodin Farah dug into the left side of the box and tangled with the Malaysian defense who threw his body and made a tackle. The Thai players tried to claim a penalty kick, but referee Kim Dae-yong’s whistle was not blown.

In the end, no extra goal was scored, and the match ended with Malaysia winning as it was. Now, both teams will move to Thailand on the 10th to play the second leg of the semifinals. Malaysia went on the away road with one win on their back.