Tran Tien (Football Tribe Vietnam):
Vietnam come to the game with a huge advantage, having already secured a 2-1 away win in the first leg. The team now only need a draw at home to advance to the finals. However, the fans are really cautions at that time, remembering when the team faced the same situation back in 2014, but ultimately lost 2-4 in the second leg and were eliminated.
In team news, Park Hang-Seo continues to miss striker Van Toan due to injury. Midfielder Hung Dung also in doubt for the tie due to a back injury he sustained in the first leg. In the pre-match press conference, coach Park said that he has been working on the issue of the striker’s missing chances.
Meanwhile, the Philippines come to this game with only 17 fit players. They have injury concerns in addition to the five players who have departed to return to club duty. Despite the fact tht team need a 2-0 win in the second leg to advance to final, coach Sven-Goran Eriksson remains cautions, claiming that the Philippines will need to concentrate on defending to prevent Vietnam from scoring in the second leg.
Gian Chansrichawla (Football Tribe SEA Editor):
Going back to your own ground with an away goal is always an advantage, but given the specific circumstances and approaches, this situation is especially beneficial for Vietnam. Coach Park Hang-Seo is known for his pragmatism and ability to defend a lead, and will likely use that skill to stop the Philippines from scoring at the My Dinh National Stadium. Similarly, Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Philippines side look more comfortable when their opponents dominate play, allowing them to soak up pressure through their solid defence and physically imposing midfield, and spring quick counter-attacks.
Since the Azkals have to chase the game, they won’t be given that luxury, and will have to take the game to their hosts. This is something coach Park and the Vietnam squad will relish. The home side have the opportunity to play to their strengths in this defining clash, and will be expected to take full advantage of the situation.