AFF Cup: Special game coming up, says Vietnam coach

By Staff reporters   December 11, 2018 | 07:48 am GMT+7

Vietnam will have to be ‘ready in every way,’ playing Malaysia away in front of 80,000 fans, says Park Hang-seo.

His Malaysian counterpart, meanwhile, says his team’s earlier defeat at Vietnam’s hands in the group stage will have no bearing on the final.

Vietnam will play the first leg of AFF Cup final away in Malaysia at 7:45 p.m. today.

It will be a special match for the team, Park said at a press conference on Monday.

"It’s been 10 years since the last time Vietnam won the AFF Cup, so this game will be a special one for us. Playing an away match under the pressure of 80,000 fans will surely be a challenge. We have to be ready in every way to get a good result."

Head coach Park Hang-seo in pre-game press conference. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Vietnamese coach Park Hang-seo at a pre-game press conference. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Park said Malaysia was a tough opponent.

"Malaysia has shown a very different appearance compared to the group stage match with Vietnam. They have the most skilled players. However, our 2-0 win in the group stage will give some confidence to the Vietnamese players," he added.

Whole different ball game

On the Malaysian side, coach Tan Cheng Hoe said even though Malaysia lost to Vietnam in the group stage, playing the final was a whole different story.

"We played well in the semifinals’ second leg with Thailand. I hope Malaysia can keep that form against Vietnam. We are ready for the final," Tan said.

Head coach Tan Cheng Hoe in pre-match conference. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Malaysian coach Tan Cheng Hoe at the pre-match conference. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Tan said he understands that Vietnam poses a big challenge for Malaysia.

"Our opponent is a very strong team. But we have the home advantage in the first leg and we need to take full advantage of that before we play the second leg in Hanoi. We will have to attack. Vietnam won against us in the group stage, but the final will be a very different game. I believe my players have learned a lot from the defeat and they will play better when facing Vietnam again," he added.

Malaysian players are also keen on getting one back against Vietnam.

"I can’t wait until the game starts. Of course we want to win to get revenge against Vietnam, but this is also a chance for us to gain an advantage before the second leg. A victory will be a gift from us to the Malaysian football fans," said striker Norshahdul Tahala.

Goalkeeper Farizal Marlias in AFF Cup semi-finals second leg against Thailand. Photo by AFF.

Goalkeeper Farizal Marlias exults at the AFF Cup semi-final second leg against Thailand. Photo courtesy of AFF

"We want to avenge our group stage defeat to Vietnam in the final. It is going to be an exciting final and, we are determined to win the trophy again," said goalkeeper Farizal Marlias.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad will attend the first leg of the final, and he hopes Malaysia can win both legs.

"We will face Vietnam in the final and I will be there. So don’t let the country down. I hope Malaysia can have victory in both legs of the final," he said.

Cautious confidence

Vietnamese players said they were confident and focused.

"We are all looking forward to hit the Bukit Jalil Stadium to see what it’s like to play under the atmosphere of 80,000 fans. Of course playing an away match is never easy, but we are not under pressure and are confident of getting a good result," said midfielder Luong Xuan Truong.

Winger Nguyen Trong Hoang in group stage match with Malaysia. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Winger Nguyen Trong Hoang in group stage match with Malaysia. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.

Winger Nguyen Trong Hoang said Malaysia was a different team in the finals.

"I have played against Malaysia in the past and these games are always hard to tell. Vietnam beat Malaysia 3-1 in the group stage of SEA Games 2009 but lost 0-1 to them in the final. We have to learn our lessons after such defeats.

"Malaysia usually plays not so good in the group stage, but once they advance to the next round, they play very well. We have to be careful," Hoang said.

Malaysia won the trophy in 2010 and Vietnam in 2008.

The first leg between Vietnam and Malaysia will be played at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Malaysia; and the second leg on December 15 at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Both games will be reported live.

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