Vietnam must believe, says Calisto

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Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto knows his team face an uphill task in the second leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal against Malaysia after the defending champions suffered a 2-0 defeat at Bukit Jalil on Wednesday evening.

Safee Sali scored twice in the second half to give K. Rajagobal's side the advantage ahead of the return in Hanoi on Saturday evening and Calisto was regretting his side's inability to find the back of the net.

"It's difficult because if Malaysia score one goal in Hanoi we must score three," said the Portuguese coach. "If we had scored here it would have been a good result, 2-1.

"2-0 is difficult but if they can score two goals against us then we can score two goals in Hanoi. We must believe but it's not easy."

Calisto's team were denied several times in the first half in which the Vietnamese created the better of the goal scoring opportunities, with Malaysian goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi's fine save in injury time keeping out Nguyen Vu Phong's curling free kick.

But the home side were gifted their opening goal when a loss of concentration by goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong allowed Safee's header to go through his hands and into the goal. Calisto, however, refused to criticise his goalkeeper for the error.

"After the last game (against Singapore) everyone said he was a hero but tomorrow they will crucify him," he said. "This is the game. Goalkeepers make mistakes, this is life."

Calisto is now focusing his sights on the return fixture in four days' time, when his side will have the full backing of the 40,000 fans guaranteed to pack themselves into the My Dinh Stadium.

The Vietnamese will be certain to welcome back midifielder Nguyen Trong Hoang, who missed the first leg through suspension while Doan Viet Cuong and Phan Van Tai Em could also make the starting line-up.

"It was an interesting game, a balanced game," said Calisto. "The first half was balanced, the second half Malaysia dominated the game more than us. We made some crucial mistakes and we saw two goals.

"My team didn't play their normal game, we couldn't control the ball in midfield. But we have another 90 minutes, so nothing is lost but I must congratulate the Malaysia team because they were fighting and they sometimes played very well.

"We have only lost the first half and we have the second half to see what can happen in Hanoi."

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