After drawing 2-2 at home against Vietnam, Malaysia have a slight disadvantage going in to the second leg of the AFF Cup final. How did their free-flowing, possession based football measure up to Vietnam’s defensive solidity and ferocious counter attacks? And what can they do to turn the tide in this crucial final? Football Tribe Malaysia’s Aiman Nazirmuddin gives us his take:
Lack of Intensity
Malaysia started slowly in the opening minutes of the match. The home side seemed to be unfocused, making it easy for Vietnam easy to force mistakes. Every time the visitors attacked, Malaysia seemed unprepared to defend.
The absence of Aidil Zafuan had a major impact on the Malaysia's defense. They looks shaky and unable to absorb the pressure from Vietnam. Tan Cheng Hoe needs to do something to fix this weakness.
The Vietnam squad comes into this game with a great reputation. Malaysia were lucky not to be punished with another goal. The young Vietnamese players play very well, and they are not afraid to hold the ball or run beyond the opponent. They are fast and eager to win.
Not Giving Up
Despite Vietnam establishing a two-goal lead, Malaysia bounced back after Shahrul Saad managed to reduce the gap with Malaysia's first goal. Harimau Malaya got their reward when they found the equaliser in the second half from Safawi Rasid's free kick.
Despite losing with two goals, the Malaysian fans do not stop singing to motivate their players. They sang and danced while giving words of hope to the players. Malaysia's comeback was due at least in part to the efforts of the 80,000 supporters that were present.