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Vietnam can handle Malaysian challenge in AFF Cup final

Malaysia are hoping home advantage will pay off as they will take on Vietnam in the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 final on December 11 evening.

Vietnamese players train ahead of the AFF Cup final (Photo: VNA)

Vietnamese players train ahead of the AFF Cup final (Photo: VNA)

But coach Park Hang-seo insists his team will not be intimidated by the 80,000 strong crowd at the Bukit Jalil stadium.

The Korean coach said he has a plan in place to beat the home crowd in the first leg while relaying on the strength of character of the young players in the team.

Speaking to reporters at the pre-match conference in Kuala Lumpur on December 10, Park pointed out it has been 10 years since the team has played in a major final.

He also said since then, the two sides have met 10 times, with Vietnam coming out on top in five of those matches.

He said: "Playing in front of 80,000 local fans will be very difficult, it is huge crowd, but during training, I and my assistants reminded players of this issue. We tell them how to keep calm in that situation. Communication will be tricky because the stadium will be loud. But we will use memos and other means to pass on messages. Bukit Jalil will not be a problem," he said.

"Our biggest strength in the tournament is that we have a lot of young players which means they are highly energetic. They may lack in experience, but we have talked a lot about this in team meeting. And we will try to find a way to strengthen our side even more,” said Park.

Speaking about Malaysia, Park said the win against them in the group stage counts for nothing, as the final will be a whole different ball game.

Midfielder Nguyen Trong Hoang said while he respects Malaysia as a team who are improving, the Vietnamese team were ready to beat them again.

Hoang is the most experienced player of the team. He played at the SEA Games in 2009 when Vietnam lost 0-1 to Malaysia in the final.

"It is a sad memory but I can learn from it for the later games in my career. We meet Malaysia again and we see they are getting better and better. Here in Bukit Jalil excessive supporters are also be an obstacle. But we watch their videos and prepare well for the match," said the midfielder.

The team were given a boost after receiving a letter from Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc saying he hoped they did their best and the nation was hoping for a victory..

Malaysian Tan Cheng Hoe promised a ‘surprise’ for Vietnam.

"We played well in Thailand and if we play with the same momentum and spirit then I’m sure we’ll be fine,” Tan was quoted as saying on affsuzuki.com.

“Of course playing at home is a big advantage for us and something we have to use to our benefit but if we keep our style of playing and play with the same belief then we can get a good result and give Vietnam a surprise.

“We have been preparing well, training well and we are ready for the game. A couple of players are not fully fit but we are ready."

He added: “The players are always motivated to play in Bukit Jalil. The atmosphere in this stadium is always special and always pushes us to play well. That is why we need to take advantage of it and play well tomorrow.”

The final will start at 7.45pm (Hanoi time) and will be live on VTV6 channel and SBS of the Republic of Korea. Log on to the Vietnam News Facebook page for regular live updates during the match.

VNA

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