Viet Nam are set to play its third SEA Games match against East Timor, who nearly caused an earthquake on Monday, in Indonesia today.
HA NOI —
Ranked the lowest among the 46 members of the Asian Football Confederation, East Timor defeated the Philippines 2-1 to top Group B with six points after two matches.
Full of hope in advancing to the second round, the country needs only four points from their remaining three matches to make history.
East Timor, an SEA Games newcomer, travelled to Jakarta as underdogs due to a poor international record.
While Viet Nam, as title favourites, lie in second place with four points, both their previous games have left much to the imagination.
As a result, coach Falko Goetz has refused reporters access to all U23 training sessions in a bid to withhold pressure and keep tactics a secret ahead of upcoming games.
In its first two matches, assistant coach Phan Thanh Hung said that Viet Nam were too subjective against its weaker opponents while strikers struggled with low balls and finishes.
Planning to change style against East Timor, Goetz has an additional problem with personnel.
Defender Huynh Phu, having had problems with his thigh, is expected to miss today's match while left defender Ngoc Anh has struggled with the sole of one of his feet.
Today the team will face East Timor's Murilo Ribeiro de Almeida who leads the race for best striker with three goals scored.
The ‘imported' player enjoys a significant physical and apart from his high balls skills, is capable of scoring with both legs.
During Group A activities on Monday, defending champions Malaysia drew with Singapore 0-0 while hosts Indonesia beat Cambodia 6-0. — VNS