|Viettel FC players training in HCM City ahead of the AFC Cup, Southeast Asian semi-final match against Kuala Lumpur City. Photo of Viettel FC
HCM CITY — Viettel FC coach Bae Ji-won is confident to his side can navigate their way past Kuala Lumpur City in the semi-finals of the AFC Cup, Southeast Asian zone, at the Thống Nhất Stadium.
The South Korean manager is backing his squad, despite his team suffering from poor performances recently in the domestic V.League 1.
"Our coaching board watched Kuala Lumpur's video clips. They are a strong team," Bae told reporters at the briefing yesterday in HCM City.
"Viettel have not had good results in the V.League 1 in recent weeks. But, we are pleased with the players' performances. I hope that they will focus on the coming match and grab the best result against Kuala Lumpur."
Bea said as this is a knockout stage, the semi-final will be much different to the group round. The coaching board will talk and start the strongest line-up.
Defender Nguyễn Thanh Bình also took part in the briefing.
He said Viettel are facing challenges domestically but the team have gradually improved.
"We are lifting our spirit and training hard. In the coming match, key players like Nguyễn Đức Chiến and Bùi Tiến Dũng will be back in action. We will try our best to win," said Bình.
On the other side, Kuala Lumpur coach Bojan Hodak said the match against Viettel will be tough as they are one of the strongest teams in V.League 1.
The former champions are home to many national players.
"Viettel are strong. Any team in Southeast Asia will meet with a big challenge when they play Viettel. Their foreign players are good and local ones talented," Hodak said.
The Croatian coach impressed with midfielder Nguyễn Hoàng Đức who has a skilled left foot. He also highlighted goalkeeper Trần Nguyên Mạnh who is a national team member.
"We watched their matches and know their power. We will have to strive hard for a favourable result," he said.
Hodak also addressed Kuala Lumpur's recent domestic problems. Several players are sidelined with injuries, leading to poor performances.
However, he hopes that when competing in the continental tournament his players will do a better job.
The winner of the match will advance to the final of the regional zone. Their rivals will be the winner of Persatuan Sepakbola Makassar FC of Indonesia, and Kedah Darul Aman FC from Malaysia.
The match between Viettel FC and Kuala Lumpur FC will kick off at 6pm today and will be live on VTV and other internet platforms. VNS