Live AFC Asian Cup 2011 Vietnam vs Syria

Live AFC Asian Cup 2011 Vietnam vs Syria
19h 14/11/2009 My Dinh Stadium

HANOI – Vietnam coach Henrique Calisto believes it is crucial his side strike the first blow in their AFC Asian Cup qualifier with Syria at My Dinh Stadium if they are to claim three points and maintain their bid for a place in Qatar.

Vietnam lie third in Group D with three points from two games following a demoralising 6-1 defeat in China last time out.

Calisto anticipates a stern examination from the group leaders and underlined the first goal could go a long way to deciding his side's fortunes.

“My players must approach the game with determination and concentration. They must focus on the positioning of the Syrians. If we manage to break the deadlock first, then we will be in a very good position,” he said.

“Syria is a strong team who switch formations many times during the 90 minutes of a game. They have made many changes to their squad when you look at the ones that defeated China and Lebanon earlier this year.”

Calisto (pictured during his spell with V-League side Dong Tam Long An) welcomes influential striker Le Cong Vinh back from Portuguese top-flight club Leixoes although the Vietnam boss has concerns down the right with talented defender Huynh Quang Thanh sidelined for two weeks due to an ankle injury.

While much of the home side's hopes will undoubtedly rest on the shoulders of Cong Vinh, Calisto played down expectations the 23-year-old can win the encounter single-handedly.

“Le Cong Vinh’s comeback is good for the team as I will have more solutions for an offensive strategy. However, football is a game of teamwork, not an individually-centred game,” he stated.

Syria have spent a week in Thailand as part of preparations for the clash and drew 1-1 with the national side in a friendly at which Calisto was present.

Coach Fajr Ibrahim believes the training camp will prove extremely beneficial to his side but hinted they may have to alter their strategy on account of the conditions in Hanoi.

“Basically, Vietnam's weather and Thailand's weather are the same but the match is taking place in Hanoi, where there is higher humidity level making it easier for the players to become tired,” he said.

“We have to simplify our play as we are aiming to defeat Vietnam on their home soil. I believe my team will play much better than the 1-1 draw match against Thailand last week.”

Nevertheless, Ibrahim conceded the hosts have plenty of talent at their disposal to trouble his men.

“I also know quite a lot about Vietnam team through watching videos and the internet. Last year, I watched their friendly match against Singapore and they left a good impression on me,” he added.

“Vietnam is a well-organised team and the players are of a high technical level. But their football style is also like Thailand's so I think my players will know what to do.”

Ibrahim also dismissed the suggestion that a third successive victory will almost guarantee their places at the 2011 finals.

“The chances of qualifying for the finals are still the same for all four teams in the group,” he said.

“Given that we need to win, our secret weapon is our flexible formation.”

Photo: AFP
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