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Malaysia 3 Indonesia 0 - Malaysian blitz buries Indonesia

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Kuala Lumpur: Safee Sali scored twice and substitute Ashari Samsudin added another in a devastating 12-minute second-half spell as Malaysia stunned favourites Indonesia 3-0 to grab a decisive advantage in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final on Sunday.

The game at the Bukit Jalil Stadium was tight until Safee broke the deadlock on the hour after some fine work by his strike partner, Norshahrul Idlan.

Norshahrul also set up a goal for Ashari eight minutes later before Mahalli Jasuli crossed for Safee to head in Malaysia's third with 18 minutes left.

Indonesia had beaten Malaysia 5-1 in their opening game of the tournament but they were unable to respond to the blitz and will have much work to do in order to recover from the three-goal deficit during the second leg in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Indonesia were unchanged from the second leg of their semi-final against Philippines with striker Yongki Aribowo remaining in the starting line-up ahead of Irfan Bachdim. Malaysia named the same line-up from their 2-0 win over Vietnam in the first leg of the semis with Mahalli regaining his place at right-back from Sabre Abu.

The capacity crowd, which had been filing into the stadium more than four hours before kick-off, created a tremendous din as the match kicked off. But despite plenty of frenzied play in the opening 15 minutes, there was little in the way of goalmouth action.

On 18 minutes, S. Kunanlan created space for himself after beating Muhammad Ridwan and Firman Utina on the left wing but the winger's shot went straight at goalkeeper Markus Harison.

Malaysia goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi Che Mat was relatively untroubled early on but he alertly tipped over a corner by Firman that was curving in on goal in the 21st minute.

The home side went close to breaking the deadlock midway through the half when Safiq Rahim caught Ridwan in possession as he was bringing the ball out of his own box. The Malaysia skipper chipped the ball, which flew just over the crossbar with Markus frantically back-peddling.

On 28 minutes, Malaysia's Amar Rohidan was caught in possession in midfield by Ahmed Bustomi, who initiated a quick break. Bustomi got the ball back from Yongki on the edge of the Malaysia box but rolled his attempt just wide of the right post with Khairul grounded.

Six minutes before half-time, Firman crossed from the right to Oktovianus Maniani, who was unmarked in the Malaysian box but lost his footing at the vital moment and allowed the change to go begging

The game was goalless at half-time but the visitors thought they had broken the deadlock just three minutes after the interval when Yongki flicked on a Firman cross to Cristian Gonzales, who stabbed the ball home only to see his effort ruled out for offside.

Crowd trouble reared its ugly head in the 53rd minute when the use of laser pointers by some Malaysian fans prompted Japanese referee Toma Masaaki to stop the game as the organisers appealed for calm.

The six-minute stoppage appeared to galvanise the Malaysians who took the lead shortly after the match resumed on the hour.

The breakthrough arrived thanks to some fine opportunism for Norshahrul. With Maman Abdurahman attempting to shepherd the ball out of play near the right corner flag, the Malaysia striker nipped in and took the ball. He brought it into the box before he centred it to an unmarked Safee, who sidefooted the ball home from eight metres out.

The Indonesians appeared rattled after that goal and fell further behind in the 68th minute after more fine work by Norshahrul, who brought the ball in from the right flank before feeding it to an unmarked Ashari. The substitute launched a powerful shot from 20 metres that Markus got a hand to but was unable to keep out.

Safiq shot over shortly afterwards but the Malaysians got a decisive third in the 72nd minute with Safee heading home a cross from the right by Mahalli for his tournament-leading fourth goal.

The visitors, who had won all five of their games en route to the final were shell-shocked and were unable to muster a response as their large contingent of fans began to file out of the stadium.

Gonzales had a chance with a free-kick from 20 metres eight minutes from time but fired over and Bambang Pamungkas then saw his free-kick deflected over by his own teammate in stoppage time to leave the Indonesians needing to overcome a three-goal deficit in the return game.