Malaysia will 'keep calm' in the face of physical Vietnam - Tan Cheng Hoe
Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe has told ESPN that the message to his players ahead of Saturday's second leg of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup final against Vietnam in Hanoi will be to keep calm in the face of expected provocation.
The Harimau Malaya fought back from a two goal deficit in the first leg in front of 90,000 fans in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday to draw 2-2. Amid the excitement, the home team felt that Vietnam were guilty of some over-physical tactics and that, among other things, Do Duy Manh should have been red carded for what seemed to be a punch aimed at Malaysia captain Zaquan Adha.
"We know the way they will play and it was the same when we met in the group stage and it was the same in the first leg," Cheng Hoe told ESPN in an exclusive interview.
"Provocation is one of the key elements of their game. It can make you upset and you can lose your focus and make a mistake. That is what you have to avoid."
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In front of 40,000 passionate fans in Hanoi, the coach expects that there will be no let up as both teams strive for their second ever title.
"Our players are playing away from home and it is going to be a challenge as Vietnam are a good team," he said. "I will remind them that they have to keep calm."
Vietnam have become noticeably more physical since experienced South Korean coach Park Hang-seo took the reins in 2017.
"They have been playing this aggressive game since last year and it is something we will be ready for," Cheng Hoe added.
The former Kedah boss is sure it won't be a problem.
"In football, you have to earn the right to play the game you want to play so that is something we will have to deal with," he said.
"The players have been great in the tournament and we are looking forward to the game. These are the games that you want to play in."