Mitsubishi Electric Cup

PREVIEW: Vietnam vs Thailand (Final, 1st leg)

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12 Jan 2023


Hanoi: From the 11 nations that began the tournament back in early November we're now down to the last two as Vietnam and Thailand clash in the final of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022.

Both sides topped their respective groups, scored more than any other teams in the tournament and conceded fewer goals so there's no question that we're set for what should be an epic two-legged affair.

Attention will be focussed on Hanoi for the first clash as the reigning champions, Thailand, put their title defence on the line.

Coach Mano Polking, also at the helm as Thailand lifted the trophy in the previous edition, declared that his side enters the final as clear underdogs.

"Vietnam has had two months together, and unfortunately we couldn't have all of our players. Even though we still have a quality squad they are the clear favourites but we are here to fight.

"They are very aggressive against the ball, they defend very well, and still haven't conceded. They're playing at home with the help of the fans, they have one more day of rest and they didn't need to fly so the advantage they have is clear."

Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo, in his usual taciturn manner, wasn't buying into the mind games and noted that even if Thailand are missing some key players so too is his team with star forward Nguyen Cong Phuong ruled out of the tournament through injury.

In what will be his final home match in charge of Vietnam, the veteran Korean mentor also stressed that he has no other thought than going out on a high.

"During my five years working with the senior side and the U23s, I've only lost one game against Thailand and that was last year in Singapore, 2-0.

"This is my last game working in Vietnam, so I want to win the AFF Championship to say thanks for the support during my time here."