The Vietnamese team at a match. Photo: 24h.com.vn
Vietnam are now on the brink of winning the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 trophy after gaining a significant advantage through away goals from a 2-2 draw in the first leg in the context that nearly millions of Malaysian fans cheered the home side.
Will the Golden Dragons (the Vietnamese team) make the second victory after the first cup they won a decade ago?
Today, the team will have the comfort of playing in front of their own fans at the sprawling My Dinh National Stadium.
Fans are expected to fill up the 40,000-seat My Dinh stadium in the final match. Hours before the match, which will start at 19:30, all paths heading to the stadium have been crowded and wedged. In other parts of the country, people have gathered in the central squares or places to follow the match.
According to the tournament organizers, Vietnam fans proved to be the loudest to date in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 tournament with the noise of 121.7 dB, equal to a roar of an airplane’s engine, was recorded during the second leg of the semifinal match against the Philippines in My Dinh Stadium on December 6.
In addition, the Golden Dragons are given a potential lift as the players from the 2008 team were invited to watch.
Vietnamese fans. Photo: Doisong.vn
Chance for shining
Vietnam entered the final of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup on the back of some stellar performances from the likes of Nguyen Quang Hai, Nguyen Cong Phuong, Nguyen Anh Duc, Phan Van Duc among others.
But captain Que Ngoc Hai remained in the shadows, orchestrating a rendezvous with destiny. His transformation from hotheaded youngster to quintessential leader.
Regional sports commentators have the same ideas that the Vietnamese team’s strengths include solid defense and blistering attacks.
Commentators believe that it is the Golden Dragons’ youth is their greatest strength. Vietnam has the third-youngest squad in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 with an average age of 23.69 years, only behind Timor-Leste (20.56 yers) and Laos (21.34 years).
Team’s creative spark Nguyen Quang Hai who is aged 21, defensive rock Tran Dinh Trong also of the same age, and Do Duy Manh, 22, have all played key roles in the matches.
Adwaidh Rajan from FOX Sports Asia has pointed out three things that the Golden Dragons should do for the best result. They should shore up their once-impenetrable defense, be clinical in front of the goal, and attack from the get-go and kill the game early.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of the second leg, Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo – the South Korean tactician – said that the support from a home match is a big motivation for the players but it can also a burden to have that kind of big support.
But coach Park affirmed that he prepared his young Vietnamese side not just for facing on-field problems, but also for handling the pressure that comes from carrying the hopes of millions of Vietnam fans.
Let’s see how the team manages the match and take the final results.
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