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VN seek win over Laos in bid for semis

HANOI   — Viet Nam’s head coach Toshyia Miura made it clear in the pre-match conference that his team want to beat Laos today in their second match at the ongoing ASEAN Football Federation Cup at My Dinh Stadium in Ha Noi.

Working hard: Vietnamese striker Le Cong Vinh (centre) vies for a ball during a training session.
Working hard: Vietnamese striker Le Cong Vinh (centre) vies for a ball during a training session.

After a draw in the opening match, when they allowed Indonesia to come from behind twice, Viet Nam must beat Laos to maintain their chances of qualifying for the last four.

On paper, Viet Nam, the 2008 champions, are clear favourites over Laos. But Miura does not take anything for granted.

“We got only one point in the opening game. Both Viet Nam and Laos will try to win the second match, so it is a very important game for both teams,” he said.

The Japanese coach kept mum about the possibility of a new-look defence and a new goalkeeper.

It remains uncertain whether star striker Le Cong Vinh, who shone with a wonderful goal in the second half after coming on in place of young striker Nguyen Hai Anh, will be included in the starting line-up today.

Meanwhile, Miura’s counterpart David Booth acknowledged the gap between Laos and other top teams in the region and was modest about his team’s chances, hoping for a positive display rather than a win.

“The first game against the Philippines was very disappointing for us and we hope we can put in a stronger performance against Viet Nam. We know that it will be very difficult but we are looking forward to it and will try to have a good game,” Booth said.

In the other match of the group, Indonesia will also face the same task as Viet Nam. They must beat the Philippines in order to avoid an early exit.

Beating Laos 4-1 in the first match was not enough to put the team on the same level, said Philippines’ coach Thomas Dooley, who has been working in Manila since March.

“We are looking forward to the game tomorrow. We are obviously facing one of the strongest teams in the tournament and we are underdogs,” the American coach said.

A win would send the Philippines through to the semi-finals for a third time while a full-point from the match would put Indonesia in a commanding position to reach the last four.

“Thomas is a smart coach and he delivered immediately. The chance is 50-50 tomorrow. We are looking forward to the match and are prepared for it and hopefully it’s a fair match,” said Indonesia coach Alfred Riedl.