Indonesia won’t “park the bus”, despite the threat of Vietnam striker Le Cong Vinh, as they look to protect a 2-1 first-leg advantage ahead of Wednesday night’s AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal in Hanoi.
The Vietnamese, AFF champions in 2008, would feel confident of overturning the deficit in front of their home fans at the My Dinh National Stadium.
Goals from Hansamu Pranata and Boaz Solossa in Saturday’s first leg in Bogor ensured Indonesia some breathing space in their first tournament since the lifting of a 12-month FIFA ban in May.
The Indonesians had qualified for the knockout stages after finishing second in Group A behind defending champions, Thailand.
After losing their opening game 4-2 to the Thais, they advanced after a 2-2 draw with Philippines on Nov. 22 followed by a comeback 2-1 victory over four-time winners, Singapore, on Nov. 25.
Indonesia boss Alfred Riedl is anticipating an incessant wave of pressure on his side away to Vietnam, but he declared that his players are ready to take the game to their opponents.
“We will play like how we did in the first leg. Vietnam will go all out, and they have dangerous players, especially Le Cong Vinh,” Riedl told detikSport.
He also confirmed there are no major injury concerns for the Merah Putih, who are bidding to make their first final in six years.
The Austrian boss could welcome back first choice centre-backs Fachrudin Aryanto and Rudolof Basna, who missed the game in Bogor through suspension.
The return leg will be played in cooler conditions in Hanoi, where the temperature dips to 20 degrees Celsius in the evenings.
But for Cong Vinh and Nguyen Van Quyet, who scored in the defeat, a scorching start is mandatory. Cong Vinh earned the penalty that was converted by Van Quyet to put Vietnam level at 1-1 in the first leg.
The Hanoi T&T striker was, however, later culpable of missing two gilt-edged chances to level proceedings for the second time.
But Vietnam coach Nguyen Huu Thang acknowledged the importance of at least getting on the scoresheet in Saturday’s game.
“The one away goal can be to our advantage when we play in Hanoi. The result was difficult to take, but we are confident we can win,” Nguyen told Vietnamnews after the first game.
Teerasil Dangda’s brace, meanwhile, means Thailand will host Myanmar with a 2-0 advantage in the other semifinal, taking place at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on Thursday.
The two-legged final is scheduled for Dec. 14 and Dec. 17.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.