Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo has admitted that Malaysia have become a stronger opposition now compared to when the two sides met in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 finals.
The Golden Dragons had edged Malaysia 3-2 on aggregate in a tightly-contested two-legged AFF Suzuki Cup final last year to lift their second Southeast Asian regional title, but Park expects Harimau Malaya to pose an even bigger threat now.
The two sides are set to meet each other in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers on October 10 at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi with Vietnam looking to record their first win of the tournament after a goalless draw against Thailand in their opener.
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Malaysia, meanwhile, defeated Indonesia 3-2 in their opener before going down 2-1 to Group G favourites United Arab Emirates (UAE).
“My assistant Lee Young-jin watched Malaysia’s matches while I followed the games of Indonesia. I already watched the video replays of Malaysia’s clashes,” Park was quoted as saying by Nhan Dan Online as he prepares his team for October’s tie.
“They are being led by the old coach [Tan Cheng Hoe] but have some changes in the squad. Their attacking lineup is now much sharper compared to the AFF Championship last year,” the South Korean tactician said.
“I’m thinking about how we will play. Of course, it is impossible to make complete change, but I will try to make the best changes to create confusion and chaos for the opponents. I am working to address the disclosed tactics and analyse how Malaysia have been different from the AFF Cup,” he added.
Vietnam have began their preparations at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre ahead of next month’s 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round ties. They will also face Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, five days after the Malaysia encounter.
(Photos courtesy: FA Malaysia, Vietnam Football Federation)