Farizal Marlias was the man between the post the last time Malaysia won at My Dinh Stadium in the AFF Suzuki Cup. That was four years ago in the semi-final second leg as Malaysia came from a 1-2 home defeat in the first leg to triumph 5-4 on aggregate.
This time around the stakes are much higher seeing that it's the final instead of the semi-final but comparatively, the task is slightly easier as Malaysia managed a 2-2 draw in the home leg just a few days ago.
All Malaysia have to do is to win the match on Saturday and the big trophy will once again take up residence in Kuala Lumpur for at least the next two years. As someone who's been there and done it before, Farizal is hoping recreate the same heartbreak to an expectant home crowd.
"Malaysia will of course give our best to win the match. The weather is good, supporters will be a lot, so there's no excuse. We've done it before in the past, so it's not impossible. The tie now doesn't favour us but if we can show the same spirit as we did when we came back from 0-2 down in the first leg, I'm sure we can win."
"Whoever who works harder and give their 100% will win the match. But of course we need to keep our focus and discipline during attacking and defending," said Farizal in the pre-match press conference on Friday.
The same cold weather four years ago will be one of the challenges facing the team this edition. The weather in Hanoi is around 14 degrees celsius and that is hoped by the Vietnamese fans to be bothersome for Malaysia.
Yet, the experience gained by the likes of Syahmi Safari, Irfan Zakaria, Adam Nor Azlin, Safawi Rasid, Syamer Kutty Abba and Akhyar Rashid during their time with the Under-23 at the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China when it was around 5 degrees celsius will be helpful.
It is the fire in the belly of the Malaysian players as they look to secure the second AFF trophy for the country that will prove enough to warm up the players and ensure it will be a cold cold night for the Vietnam team and their fans.
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