KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 – National football head coach Tan Cheng Hoe can expect a fiery match against defending champions Vietnam in Sunday’s Group B match at the AFF Suzuki Cup Asean Championships at Bishan Stadium, Singapore.
This is the first night match for the Malaysians after playing Cambodia and Laos in late afternoon matches and won both – with 3-1 and 4-0 margins respectively.
However, although the match will be played in cooler conditions, Harimau Malaya. it is already blowing “hot” after Vietnam’s South Korean coach Park Hang Seo questioned Malaysia’s request for replacements and the AFF gave the greenlight for goalkeeper Khairul Azhan Khalid.
Khairul Azhan is one of the four Malaysian players who have been tested positive for Covid-19.
He and flanker Faisal Halim were tested positive when the team arrived on Dec 3. Both completed their 10-day on Saturday (Dec 11).
Two other Malaysian players – Akhyar Rashid and Quentin Chen – were also tested positive  after Malaysia’s match against Cambodia on Dec 6 and are currently under quarantine.
Putting that aside, Cheng Hoe has called on his players to “cut out individual mistakes and go in with confidence” against the defending champions, apart from tightening up the defense.
‘”Vietnam has a strong defense, quality players when it comes to technical and tactical abilities. However, we too have players with individual skills…players who can make it count when it matters most,” said Cheng Hoe, who also revealed that Junior Eldstal will be a non-starter against Vietnam because of injury.
Let’s not forget that Malaysia has a score to settle with the Golden Dragons.
The two met in the final in the 2018 edition. The score was 2-2 in the first-leg in Kuala Lumpur but Vietnam snatched a 1-0 win in the return-leg in Hanoi to take the silverware 3-2 on aggregate.
In the first two matches Malaysia also won the Man of the Match award.
Akhyar Rashid won against Cambodia and Safawi Rasid was the winner after scoring a hattrick.

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