Vietnam head coach considers resting key players in Thailand clash

By Lam Thoa   May 8, 2023 | 08:55 pm PT
Vietnam head coach considers resting key players in Thailand clash
Vietnam head coach Philippe Troussier at a press conference after Vietnam beat Malaysia 2-1 at SEA Games 32 on May 8, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Coach Philippe Troussier plans to rest key players in Vietnam's next SEA Games clash against Thailand, as they have qualified for the semifinals by defeating Malaysia on Monday.

Vietnam play Thailand in their last match in group B on Thursday. Both have entered the semifinals after winning all three group stage matches so far.

Troussier said he might rest key players.

"After playing Thailand, we only have one day to rest before the semifinals. The team will have to calculate carefully. We still have a certain goal for the Thailand game, but also have to save our energy for the semis."

He lauded his players’ performance in the 2-1 win over Malaysia which saw Vietnam qualify for the semifinals of the 32nd SEA Games men’s football event.

"We entered the game with the mindset that a victory would help us advance to the semifinals," he said in the post-match interview in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on Monday night.

"That is great motivation and also great pressure.

"This match was tough and intense, because Malaysia wanted to win at all cost. I’m not only satisfied with the result, but also the fighting spirit of the team."

On a rainy night at the Prince Stadium, Vietnam made a great start when the referee awarded them a penalty in the seventh minute after Adam Afkar let the ball hit his arm inside the box.

Nguyen Van Tung's shot was blocked by goalkeeper Sikh Izhan, but he quickly slotted the ball in from the rebound to open the scoring for Vietnam.

The lead doubled in the 33rd minute, and it was Tung again, this time with a powerful header from Vo Minh Trong's cross.

Malaysia pushed forward and got one back when goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan failed to collect the ball cleanly and let Muhammad Aliff tap it in.

The second half saw Malaysia maintain the pressure but not composure: They frequently indulged in dangerous tackles and rough play.

Not surprisingly, two of their players were sent off, which helped Vietnam secure their win.

Troussier refused to comment on the referee's decisions, but admitted Vietnam got a big advantage from the two red cards.

"Malaysia were under great pressure, they had to win the ball to attack and so might have committed fouls."

SEA Games 32: Vietnam 2-1 Malaysia

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