PETALING JAYA: Malaysia have to ace the midfield battle to beat Vietnam.
This is UiTM captain Victor Nirennold’s input ahead of Harimau Malaya’s tie against Vietnam in the Group G tie of the World Cup 2022-Asian Cup 2023 second-round qualifiers at the Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai tonight.
Nirennold should know, afterall, he played against the Vietnamese internationals when he represented SHB Da Nang in the Vietnamese league two years ago.
“Vietnam’s strength is in the midfield. They play like JDT (Johor Darul Ta’zim) and keep the ball well. They always try to progress by playing short passes, ” said the 30-year-old.
Besides taking control in the middle of the park, the centreback said Malaysia should use their physical advantage and exploit the Golden Dragons’ weakness in defence.
“The team have improved and are more organised under coach Park (Hang-seo). These players have known each other for many years, ” said Nirennold.
“They play the same system from grassroots to national level. They understand it perfectly.
“They, however, are not the greatest defensively and this is where we need to take advantage.
“Some of our players are six footers like striker Guilherme De Paula, midfielder Liridon Krasniqi, defenders Dion Cools and La’vere Corbin Ong, we should use them in set pieces to score goals, ” he said.
Nirennold named Nguyen Quang Hai and Nguyen Van Toan as standout players but was quick to add that others were equally good.
“Quang Hai can create an opportunity out of nothing. He is like the main motor of the team. He is suspended though but I believe whoever replaces him will do a good job too.
“Van Toan is fast and can score goals. I’ve played against him in the league. Malaysia must be wary of him.”