Malaysia stronger than last year, says Vietnam midfielder

By Lam Thoa, Minh Nga   October 7, 2019 | 06:02 pm PT
Malaysia stronger than last year, says Vietnam midfielder
Vietnamese midfielder Do Hung Dung (red) play in the AFF final against Malaysia, December 15, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Malaysia has made dramatic improvements since their defeat by Vietnam at the AFF Cup 2018, says midfielder Do Hung Dung.

Malaysia beat Indonesia right in the opponent’s field in their first World Cup qualification match. They lost to UAE in the second game of this round, but threw a good performance.

Just ahead of the game against Vietnam this Thursday, they thrashed Sri Lanka 6-0 in a friendly match Saturday. 

"That would help them get into the spirit of winning," Dung said.

"It is clear that Malaysia has become a lot stronger compared to AFF Cup last year. We have to be very careful in the coming game against them," said the midfielder as he joined other players of the Vietnamese men’s national team for a training session.

Vietnam and Malaysia will meet in a 2022 World Cup qualification game at 8 p.m. in Hanoi on Thursday.

At the ASEAN Football Federation Championship (AFF Cup) last year, Vietnam was crowned champion after winning the final against Malaysia.

During the tournament, Vietnam, guided by South Korean coach Park Hang-seo, played three matches against Malaysia in total. In the group stage, Vietnam won 2-0. When both teams reached the final, Vietnam drew 2-2 in the first leg and won 1-0 in the second leg to lift the title.

Yet Malaysia midfielder Brendan Gan said past results would mean little when they take on Vietnam on Thursday, because the home team will have to encounter "a new Malaysia."

"We got a different team now. We got a different style. We are more comfortable on the ball and like to play out from the back. It's going to be a difficult game," he told Goal.

Several commentators have said that Thursday’s match will be an opportunity for Malaysian players and their coach Tan Cheng Hoe to "take revenge."

But Dung said he has faith in his team.

"Vietnam is also a strong team, and what’s good is that we will play on our home ground, with strong support from football fans across the country," he said.

For the World Cup qualification, Vietnam is currently third in group G with one point from a draw with Thailand. Malaysia got three points with a 2-1 win against Indonesia. They lost 1-2 to the UAE.

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