Vietnam's pulverizing 3-1 win over Malaysia during an international friendly match on Sunday at Hanoi's My Dinh Stadium didn't suffice to set Coach Toshiya Miura's mind at ease ahead of next week's AFF Cup.
Malaysia took the lead in the 22nd minute with a long shot by Yahyah due to poor defense.
In the 44th minute, Miura leapt out of his seat when Hai Anh caught a good pass from Minh Tuan to face the Malaysian goalkeeper, but his shot was away.
Miura said he was unhappy with his players: “The losing goal involved the whole system and not only the goalkeeper and defenders. The midfielders and strikers should have been more active in vying for the ball and participating in the defense.”
“If Malaysia was luckier, we would have lost 4-5 goals in the first half,” Miura said.
However, Vietnam’s Japanese coach said his players were “not so bad” in attacking in the first half.
Two minutes into the second half, Mac Hong Quan scored the goal that leveled the score after the ball bounced out of the hands of the Malaysian goalkeeper, who was trying to block a shot by Tan Tai.
In the 48th minute, Muslim Admad was red carded for an illegal block against Van Quyet.
Van Quyet suffered another illegal block in the 55th minute in front of Malaysia’s goal.
That time, he did not miss his chance to score, putting Vietnam in the lead.
Vietnam’s third goal was scored by Hoang Thinh, who picked up on a blocked shot by Huy Toan.
After the match, Miura said he was still concerned with the team’s defense, which has not improved since last week's 1-3 loss to Palestine in another friendly.
“I am still unable to select the best two central midfielders because each player has their strong and weak points… I will have a list for the AFF Cup on November 21, one day before the match with Indonesia,” he said.
But he said players still look forward to the AFF Cup: “I talked to each player in person and they are all thirsty for it.”
Meanwhile, Malaysian Coach Dollah Salleh said Vietnam won't have any trouble reaching the semifinals if they play as well as they did in the second half.
“The number ten [Van Quyet] has good technique. It was too difficult for our players to compete with him,” he said.
Vietnam footballers officially gathered at the Crowne Plaze on November 17 to prepare for the AFF Cup. Their first opponent, Indonesia, will arrive on November 19.
Miura, who went to Indonesia to watch a friendly match with Syria on November 15, hesitates to comment on their upcoming opponent.
“The only thing I can say is that Indonesia is a very strong team and a coach who is well-versed in Southeast Asian football.”