Vietnam confident ahead of Malaysia clash

By Staff reporters   November 15, 2018 | 07:41 pm PT
Malaysia’s a tough opponent, but Vietnam is ready for the challenge in its second AFF Cup group A match.

After a 3-0 smooth victory against Laos, Vietnam plays Malaysia tonight on home ground at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

The national team began training for the match three days ago, and head coach Park Hang-seo expressed confidence about a good result for Vietnam.

"Since 1998, Vietnam has won two, drawn two and lost two against Malaysia at the AFF Cup. We’ve had seven days off this time, so the physical condition and stamina of the players are perfect," Park said.

"I have watched Malaysia games with my assistants, and with our knowledge of the opponent, we have come up with a suitable tactic for this game. I believe we will have a great match against Malaysia."

Malaysia leads group A at the moment, having won two matches against Laos and Myanmar. Their head coach, Tan Cheng Hoe, said that they would be happy with a draw.

"Vietnam is a contender for this cup, and they have the home advantage in the most important game of group A. With two wins in our hands, we will calculate our next move carefully. Like I said, Vietnam is a very strong opponent, so I think we will be satisfied with a draw," Tan said.

Head coach Park Hang-seo and head coach Tan Chang Hoe in the post-match interview. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Head coaches of Vietnam and Malaysia, Park Hang-seo (L) and Tan Chang Hoe attend a press conference. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

However, Park said that talk of a draw was just a distraction tactic.

"Every football coach will want their team to win. I don’t think my colleague would like a draw in the group stage match."

Vietnamese players are also a determined lot.

"We will come into this game with the highest spirit and tremendous desire for victory, no matter who we’re facing," said captain Nguyen Van Quyet.

Nguyen Quang Hai, who scored a beautiful curling free kick in the match against Laos last week, also said that Vietnam was well-prepared for the upcoming match.

"We have analyzed Malaysia’s strengths and weaknesses and planned it out carefully. Vietnam will win if we follow exactly what we have planned," Hai said.

"The fans are our greatest motivation, and we are ready," he added.

Nguyen Quang Hai in the match against Laos. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Dong

Nguyen Quang Hai (R) in the AFF match against Laos in Vientaine on November 8. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Malaysian players are also exuding confidence.

"Our coach has said that we can beat any team if we have unity, even if Vietnam changes their tactics. We can win if we play as a team," said captain Zaquan Adha.

Centre back Shahrul Saad said Malaysia was familiar with pressure, so playing an away game is not a problem.

"This game will be a tough challenge for us. The stadium will be filled with Vietnamese fans. But we are no stranger to pressure, and will take that three points home," he said.

Given the high demand in tickets, 40,000 seats in My Dinh Stadium will be filled with football fans tonight and Vietnam Football Federation has tightened security before the game.

Fans jostle to buy tickets for the Vietnam-Malaysia match outside My Dinh Stadium on Sunday. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

Fans jostle to buy tickets for the Vietnam-Malaysia match outside My Dinh Stadium on Sunday. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has warned that flares are forbidden in the stadium. Anyone who uses flares will be escorted out of the stadium and detained, it has said.

The federation was fined $12,500 by the Asian Games organizers last month because of fans lighting flares in an Indonesia stadium in August.

VFF will also strengthen the security to protect the Malaysian team and their fans after the match.

In 2016, after Vietnam lost to Indonesia in the semifinals, many Vietnamese fans threw stones at the bus of the Indonesian team. VFF was fined $38,000 for the incident.

After today’s game, Vietnam will play an away match against Myanmar on November 20.

Get ready for our LIVE report from 7:30 p.m.

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