TCH optimistic Malaysia can go on and lift AFF trophy

Tuấn Hữu
The Malaysia head coach remains unperturbed at the huge wall that his team has to scale in order to lead Malaysia to a second AFF triumph.

Since the end of the first leg at Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Tuesday, Tan Cheng Hoe has repeatedly drum the idea that his charges can still overcome Vietnam and go on to lift the most prestigious international tournament in the region.

Throughout the entire 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup campaign, Cheng Hoe has been at pains to prove how resolute his team is. Coming back from the defeat Vietnam in the group stage to reach the semi-final and then overcoming Thailand away despite going behind twice in the match, proves their mettle.

Having already played in front of a capacity crowd at Rajamangala Stadium as well as many more in Kuala Lumpur, Cheng Hoe is not unduly worried about the impact of the atmosphere at My Dinh Stadium could have on his team.

"Before the game start, it's always 0-0. The result of the first leg favours Vietnam but we must still be confident of winning. They will be highly motivated to play in front of their home crowd but we have the experience to handle this kind of pressure. We've played well home and away this tournament, so it's not a worry to me," said Cheng Hoe in Friday's pre-match press conference.

Tan Cheng Hoe Vietnam Malaysia AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 (2)

"I hope the players can remain fully focus throughout the match to nulify Vietnam's sharp counter attack. We know that only a win will do so it's a big pressure on us but at the same time, I want my players to enjoy the occasion."

Aidil Zafuan, Syazwan Andik and Syahmi Safari are all set to return to the starting line-up for Saturday's match having missed the first leg through injuries and suspension. That means that Cheng Hoe will have his first choice defence at his disposal, despite worries that Aidil may be pushed back into action too soon.

The permutations for Cheng Hoe is simple, win in Hanoi and he will go on to lift his first trophy with Malaysia as a head coach, which could also see him getting his contract renewed by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

Anything less than a 2-2 draw will mean that Vietnam go on to lift their first trophy since 2008 and that would be what Cheng Hoe and his coaching staff will set out to avoid.


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