KUALA LUMPUR – National head coach Tan Cheng Hoe wants the squad to exploit every opportunity to end the poor record against Vietnam when the two teams clash at midnight on Friday.
The Group G second qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asian Cup match at Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be the fifth encounter between the two sides since Cheng Hoe was appointed as head coach with Vietnam winning three out of the four meetings and the last game ending in a draw.
The record of the contest described by Cheng Hoe was useful lesson to the line-up of players to be more prepared in facing the Golden Dragons under coach Park Hang-seo this time.
The 53-year-old coach also called on each player especially the attacking machinery to be more effective at the goal without wasting any opportunities to find the net.
“Although we did not win in the last four meetings, I am sure we are aware of the tactics and style of Vietnam. We must make full use of every opportunity presented before our eyes,” he said.
“In every encounter with Vietnam, we had our chances at goal, as such we need more lethal finishings to make the difference,” he told an online media conference after a training session of the national squad in Dubai today.
A victory against Vietnam would keep the hopes of Harimau Malaya alive in their mission to end the Group G campaign as the top two and thereby earning an automatic slot to the finals of the 2023 Asian Cup.
Meanwhile, Cheng Hoe said Vietnam’s play did not change much in the team who demolished Indonesia 4-0 at Al Maktoum Stadium early this morning.
He said the game technique deployed by Vietnam in exploiting any unmarked positions means the national squad cannot give them too much space to move.
“We know the strength of Vietnam is speed and their cohesive attack, therefore we have to work doubly hard to seal off space wherever possible,” he said.
Cheng Hoe said the absence of Vietnam’s top striker Nguyen Quang Hai due to a suspension, in the coming match is a bit of consolation but we believe Hang-seo has several other alternatives.
However, he believed the national line-up is capable of a garnering positive result.
“Vietnam are said to have the best defence in the group but we are confident each of our player fielded is more than proficient to earn a much-needed win,” he said.
After six matches, Vietnam are ahead in Group G with 14 points followed by UAE in second spot (12 points), Thailand (nine points ), Malaysia (nine points) and Indonesia with one point.