Mitsubishi Electric Cup

PREVIEW: Thailand vs Vietnam (Final, 2nd leg)

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15 Jan 2023


Bangkok: After a furious month of action the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 is down to the final match, a minimum of 90 minutes that can frame or define legacy, where it will be tears for one and joy for another.

Thailand may have the upper hand after a wild first leg finished 2-2 in Hanoi on Friday but coach Mano Polking knows the risks that come with trying to protect the advantage of having those two away goals in their keep.

"I promise you one thing, we are not going to simply try and defend because we know how dangerous it can be to play for a draw.

"We are here to play our game, to build on what we did well in the first match and to win."

Much attention has been focussed on the fitness of star forward Teerasil Dangda with the tournament's all-time leading scorer only able to complete light jogging and stretching drills separate to the main squad on the eve of kick-off.

Just as was the case in the first leg though, Polking has full faith in the entire squad and whoever may be called in to replace Teerasil.

"We still have time to see if he can start, nothing is decided yet and of course we miss him but we have experience and other players who can step in to do the job if he can't play."

In his final pre-match remarks before he departs his post, Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo was more expressive than usual and declared that he feels neither team has a clear edge after that first leg draw 

"Some people may think the result from the first match is a disadvantage but we are confident knowing that we must win and actually we are used to playing away games in Thailand and beating them.

"I think Thailand also don't consider they have the advantage and it will be a beautiful game that we can both enjoy."

The visiting coach also noted that he was surprised by Thailand's unexpected tactical switch in that first leg but believes they may reverse that being back at home.

"Thailand will not be happy with a draw, I'm sure they will play attacking football.

"I was surprised that they played with three central defenders, maybe because of the pressure of playing an away game, but I hope that they will go back to two central defenders and play attacking football which we are also going to do."