After battling their way through the tournament, the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 will reach a thrilling climax when arch-rivals Vietnam and Thailand go head-to-head for the chance to be crowned regional champions.
|Vietnamese players celebrate a goal against Indoensia in the semi-finals. Vietnam will face Thailand in the finals of the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022. (Photo: VietnamPlus) |
Hanoi - After battling their way through the tournament, the AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup 2022 will reach a thrilling climax when arch-rivals Vietnam and Thailand go head-to-head for the chance to be crowned regional champions.
Vietnam will play the first leg final against Thailand, who beat Malaysia 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals, at the My Dinh National Stadium at 7.30pm on January 13. After that, the two teams will play again in the second leg final at Thailand’s Thammasat Stadium at 7.30pm on January 16.
In the history of the AFF Cup, Vietnam and Thailand had only met in the finals once, in 2008, when Vietnam were crowned champions for the first time.
Thailand currently has the most AFF Cup trophies (formerly known as Tiger Cup), having won six times, while the Vietnamese team have only won twice.
This will be coach Park's swansong with the national side. Under his tutelage, Vietnam have only beaten Thailand at a youth level or in friendly tournaments.
Vietnam defeated Thailand 1-0 in the friendly King's Cup 2019. At the M-150 friendly tournament in Buriram in 2017, Vietnam’s U23 overcame Thailand 2-1. This was coach Park's first tournament in charge.
Vietnam’s largest victory against Thailand came at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers when Vietnam beat Thailand 4-0. In 2019, Vietnam’s U22 side drew with Thailand 2-2 in the group stage at the SEA Games 30 in the Philippines.
At the national team level, the two sides in the second qualifying round for the 2022 World Cup, ended in 0-0 draws.
Most recently, at the AFF Cup 2020 in the Philippines, thanks to Chanathip Songkrasin, Thailand defeated Vietnam in the semi-finals, winning 2-0 in the first leg and drawing 0-0 in the second leg.
Thailand are considered the strongest opponent in Southeast Asia. However, this Vietnamese side are on a fine run of form and have yet to concede in the tournament. Thailand are also missing key players, including Chanathip Songkrasin.
The upcoming finals are an opportunity for coach Park to surpass his colleague Alexandre Polking and bring home the trophy as the goal Vietnam set.
Speaking after the win against Malaysia on January 10, Polking said that the trip to My Dinh Stadium on January 13 would be very important after his team had two lessons in Indonesia and Malaysia.
"The last two away games are our lessons, making us stronger than before. We also need to fix our mistakes. The first match against Indonesia, we got a red card, making our situation difficult. In the match against Malaysia, we played well but couldn't score. Hopefully, we will do a good job in the next important match with Vietnam," Polking said.
| ||Vietnam look to maintain Park’s unbeaten record against Indonesia in AFF Cup |
During coach Park Hang-seo's five-year reign, Vietnam have not lost to Indonesia and the Korean coach will not want that streak to end so close to the end of his tenure when they meet in the AFF Cup semi-finals on January 6.
| ||Vietnam, Indonesia vie for berth in finals |
Vietnam and Indonesia will meet again tonight in the second leg of the AFF Cup 2022’s semi-finals, following a goalless draw in the first leg just three days earlier.