Malaysia fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Vietnam in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup final on Tuesday.
Vietnam, however, go into Saturday's return leg in Hanoi as favourites thanks to their two away goals as both nations attempt to win the regional title for the second time.
After weathering a strong start by the hosts, Vietnam raced into a two-goal lead by the 25th minute.
Phan Van Duc hit the Malaysians on the break when he latched on to Doan Van Hau's pass and set up Nguyen Huy Hung, whose shot was deflected past goalkeeper Farizal Marlias.
Pham Duc Huy made it 2-0 soon afterwards when his strike from distance gave Farizal little chance.
But Malaysia found a way back into the game nine minutes before the interval when Shahrul Saad charged into the six-yard box to head home Saymer Kutty Abba's free kick.
Malaysia were level on the hour as Safawi Rashid stepped up to curl a free kick from the edge of the area around the wall and beyond Dang Van Lam.