YANGON – Malaysia coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee believes his side will have a slim advantage against Vietnam when the teams lock horns in a 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup Group B encounter on Wednesday.
The Malaysians beat Cambodia 3-2 in their opening match under scorching conditions that soared up to 40 degrees Celsius at the Thuwunna Stadium on Sunday.
Vietnam went on to beat Myanmar 2-1 in the later game.
Ong is hopeful that his side will adapt faster when they take to the field for their second 3 p.m. match of the tournament.
“The weather really plays a big part in the game. The heat can really get under your skin when playing, and even me and the officials felt the brunt, just standing by the sidelines,” said Ong.
“So we will adjust faster to the conditions, compared to Vietnam, we have an advantage in that sense.
“But having said that, Vietnam will pose a different test altogether from Cambodia, and we must be cautious of them. They have a well-balanced side, with many speedy and skillful players.”
The Vietnam players were also seen struggling to acclimatise to the weather during their training sessions this week.
“To play at 3 p.m. is not easy, but we have to adapt to the schedule. We are mentally. and psychologically prepared. to overcome these difficulties,” said Vietnam coach Nguyen Huu Thang.
The Golden Stars will be looking for some redemption against the Malaysians, who ousted them in the semifinals of the 2014 edition.
In Le Cong Vinh, they possess one of the most potent forwards around. The veteran hitman will be looking to add to his 50-goal tally, having scored the winner against Myanmar on Sunday night.
Ong could make some changes against the 2008 champions, particularly in midfield where the central pairing of Baddrol Bakhtiar and Irfan Fazail failed to exert any dominance against Cambodia.
With both sides guaranteed a berth in the semifinals with a win, this plum Group B game could produce plenty of goals. – ESPN FC