|Coach Park Hang-seo and his players in a training on January 11 in Hà Nội. They are preparing for the AFF Cup final, first leg match, on January 13 at the Mỹ Đình Stadium. — Photo courtesy of VFF|
HÀ NỘI — Coach Park Hang-seo is determined to lead his team to victory against Thailand in the AFF Cup final, as he aims to make amends for the previous loss and end his five-year tenure on a high note.
The match will take place on January 13th at the Mỹ Đình Stadium in Hà Nội, with Việt Nam playing as the host team in the first leg of the final.
South Korean Park set two targets for the match.
“In five years here, I have taken charge of two teams, the U23 and the national squad. I only lost one match (to Thailand), in the 2020 Cup semi-finals. My goal is to defeat them to pay off this debt,” said Park at the press briefing on January 12.
“The second goal is to win the championship title with my players and give it to Vietnamese supporters who have been going along with us for years,” he said.
Park, on January 11, received a trophy as the Best Foreign Coach of the Year for his contribution to Việt Nam’s sport.
He said two matches at the AFF Cup final would be his last with Việt Nam, and he would do his best to win.
To prepare for matches, he sent assistants to watch the Thailand and Malaysia semi-final matches. He also asked for Malaysian coach Kim Pan-gon’s advice for the final.
"My assistants and I have analysed Thailand and consulted with Kim Pan-gon about his experiences with Thailand," said Park.
"Thailand have quality players, it is no doubt. Their players in the central area work well together. Some others in the wings are flexible and active. Their strikers are good but not to the level that the Vietnamese team should be afraid.
“The frontline is strongly supported by No 3 (Theerathon Bunmathan), No 6 (Sarach Yooyen) and No 8 (Peeradol Chamrasamee) players. If we can lock them down, there would be no big problem.
“The Thai coach is right that they have good forward as they scored 16 goals, but he is not true to say Việt Nam are good at defence only. My players also attack well, as they have netted 14 goals,” he said.
Captain Đỗ Hùng Dũng attended the briefing. He said Vietnamese players were in a comfortable mood ahead of the final.
"We returned to training yesterday, and we are all in the best conditions,” he said.
“Pressure is constant in football, but we have experienced players who competed in large competitions like the World Cup qualification. We know how to face it. We are ready for the Thailand game.”
Coach Alexandre Polking confirmed that Thailand would play an attacking game despite the quality at Mỹ Đình stadium, which is not as good as Thammasat Stadium.
“A draw result is good, but a win is much better. Thailand need to score a goal at Mỹ Đình to take advantage of the away goal rule,” said Polking.
“Việt Nam are good at defence, I have to admit that. This will be a match between a team with the best defence and a team with the best attack. It will be an important and difficult match for us.
“Vietnamese players have good fitness and had one more day to rest than Thailand. They will have the strong support of local fans. These are their advantages,” said Polking, who is the only coach in Southeast Asia to have a win over Park.
The German tactician, however, said he preferred the play the second leg at home. He needs a positive result in Việt Nam to make the job at Thammasat stadium easier.
One of his concerns was his best scorer Teerasil Dangda suffered an injury that may prevent him from playing on January 13.
|Teerasil Dangda of Thailand scores a goal in Thailand's 3-0 win over Malaysia in the semi-final second leg on January 10. The striker is a doubt for the final. Photo aseanfootball.org|
He said Dangda, leading the score chart with six goals, will undergo tests. Young teammate Adisak Kraison would replace him if needed
Speaking to reporters at the briefing, midfielder Kritsada Kaman said his team would block Việt Nam’s best striker Nguyễn Tiến Linh, who has netted five times.
“Linh is the second-highest scorer in this Cup. We have prepared and planned to stop him from scoring,” he said.
“Tomorrow's match is important, and we will be focused on having a good result before returning home for the second leg match.” VNS