Malaysia a formidable foe, warns Vietnam coach ahead of World Cup qualifier

By Lam Thoa, Nhat Tao   October 10, 2019 | 07:57 am GMT+7
Malaysia a formidable foe, warns Vietnam coach ahead of World Cup qualifier
Coach Park Hang-seo speaks at a press conference in Hanoi, October 9, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.

Malaysia have gotten stronger and will be a formidable foe in the World Cup qualifier on Thursday, Vietnamese coach Park Hang-seo has warned.

At a press conference in Hanoi Wednesday, he said: "[Since] the 2018 AFF Cup Malaysia have become different. They have some more foreign players and employ safer, more stable tactics, especially in midfield."

"I take special notice of No. 20 Syafid Ahmad. He can penetrate the penalty area and cover a wide area. Malaysia's two wings are also strong, especially with the right winger Mohamadou Sumareh. Their sprints down the left flank often produce a high scoring rate."

Asked about Vietnamese forward Nguyen Cong Phuong and left-back Doan Van Hau, both of whom just returned home after playing in Europe, Park said they are both ready for the upcoming match.

"However I am a bit worried about Phuong’s performance. While he was in Belgium, he did not play often, so I’m a bit on the fence about his ball sense."

The Vietnamese players were scheduled to have their last practice session on Wednesday afternoon before Park finalizes the line-up.

"We absolutely intend to win Thursday match."

Vietnam not to be underestimated

Malaysian coach Tan Cheng Hoe said Vietnam are a strong team who have improved both physically and tactically.

"In the Thursday match, Vietnam would have home advantage. Malaysia would have to prepare ourselves well and try our best to get a good outcome.

Mayasias coach Tan Cheng Hoe speaks at a press conference in Hanoi, October 9, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.

Mayasia's coach Tan Cheng Hoe speaks at a press conference in Hanoi, October 9, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.

"I respect my colleague Park Hang-seo and highly regard the work he's doing in Vietnam. It is true that Malaysia have lost to Vietnam in both our latest matches at the My Dinh Stadium, in which they [Vietnam] scored three goals. But in football, we can't say anything for sure. I and my boys are optimistic, and we're confident we would get the best outcome."

Vietnam and Malaysia kick off at 8 p.m. in Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium.

Vietnam won the ASEAN Football Federation Championship (AFF Cup) last year after beating Malaysia in the final.

During the tournament, Vietnam played three matches against Malaysia. In the group stage Vietnam won 2-0, and in the final they drew 2-2 in the first leg and won the second leg 1-0 to lift the title.

Some commentators have said Thursday’s match will be an opportunity for the Malaysian players and their coach Tan to "take revenge."

In the World Cup qualifiers, Vietnam are currently third in group G with one point from a draw with Thailand. Malaysia have three points after a 2-1 win against Indonesia and 1-2 loss to the UAE.

 
 
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