|Vietnamese players training at Jalan Besar Stadium on December 28. They will play Singapore on December 30 in their third Group B match of the AFF Cup. Photo courtesy of VFF
SINGAPORE — Both Việt Nam and Singapore need a win on December 30 to seal a spit in the semi-finals of the AFF Cup.
Coach Park Hang-seo on December 29 said despite playing on artificial grass at the Jalan Besar Stadium, Việt Nam will beat the hosts to take their third win in a row.
"To every game, we always set a target of winning even when playing away," said Park at the press conference on December 29 in Singapore.
"This will be an important match for both teams because the winners will advance to the semi-finals. Both of us want to win this game, so we must prepare carefully.
"Việt Nam face the challenge of artificial grass. In 2020, we played on natural grass but I don't know why the hosts don't use it this year. It is easier to get injuries on the artificial grass, but it is allowed by the organisers, so we have to accept.
"Only some of my players competed on this kind of field before. I have asked them to choose suitable shoes for the match," he said.
The South Korean coach said he watched two previous games of Singapore and found that they used different players. However, the playing style was almost the same.
"We analysed their games, and I think we have prepared 80 per cent; the last 20 per cent will be made in the last training session today," he said.
|(From left to right) Vietnamese defender Bùi Tiến Dũng, Việt Nam head coach Park Hang-seo, Singapore trainer Takayuki Nishigaya and striker Irfan Fandi at the press conference on December 29. — Photo courtesy of VFF
Defender Bùi Tiến Dũng also took part in the conference and confirmed that the artificial grass would be the biggest problem for Việt Nam.
"We used to compete in that field; it was not unfamiliar. However, we played on a natural grass field for a long time, so it would be an unexpected change for us. I believe that we will face difficulties, but with two training sessions, we have gradually adapted," said Dũng.
The 6,000-seat Jalan Besar Stadium is part of the Jalan Besar Sports and Recreation Centre, a community sports facility that includes the stadium and a swimming complex.
It was Singapore's home ground when they hosted Palestine in the 2022 World Cup qualification last year.
The venue was upgraded in 2021, using GreenFields Evolution Pro 40 pitch as part of a FIFA Development Project. It is a high-quality playing surface for all domestic and international matches.
About the host players, Dũng said he had to keep close eyes on Singapore strikers.
"There are some changes in Singapore's line-up compared with the squad playing with us in a friendly match in HCM City recently. In this tournament, I see striker Shawal Anuar and some other forwards who will be our main concern in tomorrow's match," said Dũng, who returned to action against Malaysia match after missing a game against Laos because of his positive test for COVID-19.
On the host's side, coach Takayuki Nishigaya appreciated Việt Nam but hoped that his team would have positive results under the strong support of home fans.
"Việt Nam are strong, but we will play on home ground tomorrow. We will try our best and can create challenges for them," said the Japanese tactician.
|Singapore players celebrate their goal in their 2-0 win over Laos on December 27. Photo aseanfootball.org
"Singapore still have problems, but we are in a good mood and have high determination. We won both two previous matches, and I am glad about six points. But facing Việt Nam and Malaysia later, we will have to work harder to advance to the semis," he said.
Nishigaya said in the 2-0 win over Laos on Tuesday, some of his key players could not compete because of their injuries, fitness and also his tactics.
He will welcome them back to the team on Friday but will base his squad on their last training session.
"Tomorrow night, many supporters will come to the stadium. I hope Singapore will play well and have a good result," he said.
Striker Irfan Fandi said he respected Việt Nam as a team and players individually. They have played together for a long time. They are experienced and understand each other well. Singapore will have to try hard in the match.
Fandi regretted that some of Singapore's players would not play but trusts his other teammates to shoulder the task.
When they last met in a friendly in September, Việt Nam won 4-0. Việt Nam secured three wins and one draw in their four recent matches.
Việt Nam are on top of Group B with six points. Malaysia, who rest on December 30, are second and Singapore third. They both have six points but Việt Nam are ahead on goal difference.
The match will be live on VTV channels from 7.30 pm. VNS