By Chris Paraskevas
Dec 27, 2010 4:38:00 AMMalaysia have taken a huge step towards being crowned AFF Cup champions after beating Indonesia 3-0 in the first leg of their final in Kuala Lumpur.
In front of a passionate crowd of 90,000 at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, the Malaysians netted three goals in the space of 12 minute during the second half to take a potentially decisive lead in their tie.
It was the first time that Indonesia played away from home in the tournament after their semi final with the Philippines was played entirely in Jakarta.
Alfred Riedl's men wilted when put under real pressure for the first time in a tournament that they have cruised through, scoring 15 goals in their five previous games
The Indonesians thought they ahd taken the lead just after the half time break when Cristian Gonzales - the hero from their semi final tie - finished from close range, though it was ruled out for offside.
Japanese referee Toma Masaaki was then forced to halt the game with the use of laser pointers by sections of the Malaysian crowd, specifically aimed at goalkeeper Markus and Indonesia captain Firman Utina.
That break in play proved pivotal, as Norshahrul Talaha prevented Maman Abdurahman from shepherding the ball out for a goal kick, doing superbly well to win possession and square the ball for Safee Sali to slot home on 61 minutes.
Norshahrul was the architect again seven minutes later as the home side doubled their advantage, skillfully cutting in from the right wing and laying the ball on a platter for Mohd Ashaari, who finished comprehensively into the top corner.
An incredible passage of play was completed in the 72nd minute as Safee grabbed his second with a well direct header from a Mahali Jasuli centre.
Favourites Indonesia now have a considerable task ahead of them in the return leg at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Wednesday.