There’s more than just the Final 1 of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 at stake this evening when Vietnam entertains Thailand at the My Dinh Stadium, where there’s also the ‘debt’ which needs to be repaid.
At the last tournament in 2020 in Singapore a year ago, Thailand crushed Vietnam in the semifinals with two quick goals from the talismanic Chanathip Songkrasin to book their place in the finals against Indonesia.
And naturally, that pain still lingers in the Vietnam squad as they look to deny Thailand back-to-back titles.
“We still have two things to do. First, it is playing well in the first leg and to win to repay the debt to Thailand. Second is to bring the trophy home as a gift for the fans,” said Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo.
“In the past five years in Southeast Asia, I only lost one match – and that was to Thailand in the semifinals in 2020.”
Vietnam made the cut to the semifinals of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 on a stellar record.
They scored 12 in the group stage and a further two more in the semifinals without conceding a single goal.
It is Vietnam’s second Finals since 2018 as they chased for a hattrick of crowns after winning it twice before (in 2008 and 2018).
“Thailand have a lot of good players, that’s undisputed. Thailand scored 16 goals and conceded three times. We have scored 14 goals and conceded none. But it is not correct to say that we only know defence because of that. We can also attack very well,” added Hang-seo.
“Thailand’s midfield is very well coordinated. Their No. 6 (Sarach Yooyen) and No. 11 (Bordin Phala) are very versatile. Their attack is good, but not to the extent that we should be afraid.
“Their attack is strong thanks to the support from No. 3 (captain Theerathon Bunmathan). If we can block him, we have nothing to fear.”