BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Ahead of their matchday three Group G World Cup Asian qualification encounter against Malaysia on Thursday, Vietnam boss Park Hang-seo has projected a more realistic outlook on the match.
The last time the two sides met was in the 2018 AFF Championship final last December, where Vietnam edged Malaysia 3-2 on aggregate. They had also met in the group stage, in Hanoi as well, with the Golden Dragons winning the encounter 2-0.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference, the South Korean spoke of the need to rely on his two Europe-based stars; Doan Van Hau and Nguyen Cong Phuong despite them not having received regular playing time with their clubs and arriving to the centralised camp later than their locally-based teammates.
"Cong Phuong arrived on the seventh, Van Hau yesterday (Tuesday), later than the others. Cong Phuong plays in Belgium, and although he hasn't received much playing time, he is still in a good condition. These two will be ready for tomorrow's match."
Curiously, Park is not entirely confident of his charges' chances of winning, despite their favourable recent head-to-head record and their home team status.
"Since the AFF Championship, Malaysia have more foreign-born players with a playing style that is more safe. Their midfield is stronger and faster. We have to be cautious of their inside passes, and the wingers who have good speed and agility. Their scoring is very high, so we have to be wary of that.
"I don’t put a lot of weight on previous achievements, so we have to focus and look forward. So I cannot say with 100 per cent confidence that we’ll beat Malaysia, but we will try for sure," said the 60-year old trainer.
The match will be played at My Dinh National Stadium, with Malaysia now in third place with three points after two matches, and Vietnam in fourth with one point after one match.
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