|Upbeat mood: Midfielders Pham Thanh Luong (left) and Nguyen Trong Hoang jog together in a training session as part of the Vietnamese national team's preparations for their second-leg game against Uzbekistan of the Asian Cup 2015 qualifyer tonight. — Photo hff.vn
HA NOI (VNS)— Viet Nam will play a do-or-die game today against Uzbekistan as the two teams seek a crucial win in their Group E game of the Asian Cup 2013 qualifiers at My Dinh National Stadium in Ha Noi.
The match is crucial for both teams because the result could be a turning point in their pursuit of a ticket to Australia in 2015.
For Viet Nam, a win is a prerequisite to keeping the country's million-to-one chance alive, but for the Uzbeks, a victory would be a big step towards securing a berth at the regional tournament next year.
Nguyen Van Sy was in an upbeat mood ahead of the match, saying that his team was well prepared.
"We are ready for tonight's match and all our players are in high spirits and determined to take the game to our opponents," Sy said.
"Uzbekistan are a strong team and they are also determined to win the match, but playing in front of home fans will drive us on to get the best possible result," the 42-year-old coach said.
The United Arab Emirates top the group with nine points after three wins, while Hong Kong and Uzbekistan share second place on four points after one win, one draw and one loss. Viet Nam are bottom without a single point.
It is still mathematically possible for Viet Nam to qualify for the Asian Cup next year if they win their three remaining matches, including tonight's match.
Sy, however, is not counting his chickens, and remains very down to earth.
"Our immediate task is to focus on one game at a time," the Nam Dinh Province native said.
Viet Nam will welcome the return of midfielder Le Tan Tai, who missed the away fixture through injury, while goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong has been selected following a solid performance during the BTV Cup.
Tai promised he and his teammates would put up a strong performance today.
Despite playing away, Uzbekistan's head coach Mirjalol Kashimov is extremely confident of a win over Viet Nam.
"We had a long journey on Wednesday, but now we have recovered. Our mood is excellent at the moment and we are all focused on the game," Kashimov told reporters via an interpreter in the pre-match news conference.
‘I think Viet Nam will play on the counter-attacking game, but we go into the match as favourites because we are a stronger team. I believe we will beat Viet Nam regardless of the fact that they are playing at home with generous support from their fans," an upbeat Kashimov said.
He also emphasised the psychological importance of getting an early goal.
"We will try to get on the scoresheet first to put us in a better position to win the match," he finished. — VNS