Hanoi: Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo admitted that carrying the weight of the nation could take its toll on his side, as they look to be crowned Southeast Asian kings in the second leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 final against Malaysia on Saturday.

With the first leg having ended as a 2-2 draw in Kuala Lumpur, the away goals and an expectant home crowd hand Vietnam the advantage back home in Hanoi, but the Korean tactician has noted that there’s also real pressure on the side to meet and fulfill the hopes and dreams of a nation.

“On Saturday, we have a home match and whilst it’s helpful and a big motivation for the players to have such support, it can also be a burden to have that kind of big support. So I’ll make sure to ask the players to be calm and control themselves.”

After having tasted success with various Vietnam youth teams, the coach has called for the entire nation to back the Golden Stars in the tournament’s climax as they aim to collect their second AFF Suzuki Cup crown, a decade after their last title.

“First of all myself and the players know just how important Saturday’s match is and we don’t want to let the Vietnamese people down.

“We played in front of more than 80,000 in Kuala Lumpur and, even though the stadium at My Dinh is smaller, I’m confident that we can make an even better atmosphere for our team.” 


His counterpart, Tan Cheng Hoe, admitted that Malaysia have a stern challenge in front of them but remains adamant that they can emerge on top.

“After the result from the first leg  things are in Vietnam’s favour and, even though we have a mountain to climb, the players are very motivated and confident.”

Able to call on a trio of players who missed the first leg in Shaymi Safari, Syazwan Andik and Aidil Zafuan, Tan said that he’ll have his strongest starting 11 available and has urged the team to play with freedom and remain calm in the face of a partisan crowd in Hanoi.

“We know that the intensity will be high and I’ve asked my players to maintain focus and be aware of the quick counters from Vietnam. But also the players shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves and just enjoy playing in the final here in Hanoi.”