PETALING JAYA: The decisive match between Vietnam and Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup Group B match has now become a war of words.
Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo called Malaysia’s request for replacement following a string of Covid-19 cases in the team “unreasonable and unfair”.
The South Korean said tournament rules allow teams to select 30 players, which all teams have done except Malaysia.
He said Malaysia have decided to pick 24 players and they have to live according to their decision.
âRules are rules, you can’t change that. If Malaysia felt it was good to bring in 24 players, they should stick with it. So I think it is neither reasonable nor fair to bring in replacements now. All the teams here followed the decision, âHang-seo said at a virtual press conference yesterday.
Four Malaysian players – goalkeeper Khairulazhan Khalid, right-back Quentin Cheng and wingers Faisal Halim and Akhyar Rashid – are in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 in Singapore.
Malaysia are calling for substitutes, in particular a goalkeeper.
Responding to Hang Seo’s statement, Malaysia coach Tan Cheng Hoe said: âYes there are regulations but the Covid-19 virus has hit us, especially for one of our goalkeepers . Organizers need to be flexible.
“If this happened to other teams, we would understand and be accommodating,” Cheng Hoe said at Malaysia’s virtual press conference.
Meanwhile, Vietnamese midfielder Luong Xuan Truong said they had to beat Malaysia if they were to defend the title they won in 2018.
The 26-year-old hard worker is said to be the champion, he has to beat the best and Malaysia is one of the best in the South East Asia region.
âWe saw how they played in the last two games, they scored seven goals. They play an attack of three, and anyone playing in those positions is dangerous. We have to be at our best defensive end to prevent them from scoring, âsaid Xuan Truong.
âWe have played against Malaysia several times over the past three years and we have had several good results. This momentum must therefore continue. Both teams have their tactics, but we believe in our style of counter-attacking football.
âMany have said that we were mentally weaker after the poor run in the third round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers where we have lost every game so far.
Although we have learned to face top teams, being on the losing side is not good.
âIt’s something we have to deal with. We therefore hope to have a good trip to Singapore to restore our confidence, âhe added.