Strong defence can swing the game - Cheng Hoe

Last update: 09/10/2019

By Ahmad Nazrin Syahmi Mohamad Arif

HANOI, Oct 9 -- The national squad’s defence needs to be particularly alert if Harimau Malaya want a positive outcome against Vietnam in their third match of the Group G second round of the 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asian Cup qualifier at My Dinh National Stadium here on Thursday.

Head coach Tan Cheng Hoe said defensive strength would be crucial to thwart the opponents and lift the spirits of the whole team in their meeting with the 2018 AFF Cup champions.

At the same time, he said, the attacking line would also play a big role if the national team wanted to gain three points.

"Overall, every department is important to the team and I always know we have to play as a unit as we attack and defend," the 51-year-old coach said when met by reporters during the national squad’s training session at the VFF Youth Training Center here Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, the Harimau Malaya squad are ready to face the world ranked 99th team and are eyeing a victory to boost their reputation.

Following a 3-2 victory over Indonesia in Jakarta before losing 1-2 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last month, Malaysia are determined to record a victory over Vietnam.

After two weeks of thorough preparation and scoring a morale-boosting 6-0 win over Sri Lanka in an international friendly Tier 1 match on Saturday, Cheng Hoe's side are simply raring to go into action.

"What's important is that since arriving here yesterday, I think we are well prepared to fight Vietnam. Since being called to the training camp, all players have shown great commitment. So two days before the game we will focus more on tactics against them (Vietnam)," Cheng Hoe said.

Malaysia are going into the match with a record of scoring four goals and conceding just as many.

Despite this, Cheng Hoe remains calm and composed and are looking forward to a strong performance by his boys.

Malaysia had one victory, two draws and seven losses in their previous 10 meetings against Vietnam, and the last time both sides met saw Park Hang Seo's squad winning 1-0 en route to lifting the 2018 AFF Cup with a 3-2 aggregate result.