Malaysia vs Vietnam: Three players to watch

Mahali Jasuli
Age: 25 years old
Team: Malaysia
Position: Right Back / Defensive Midfielder
This is an absolute no-brainer. Mahali is arguably one of the best right backs in South East Asia and the man is in form as well, as witnessed in the clash against Thailand and Singapore during the group stages. While his defensive quality has the tendency of being questioned every now and then, there is no denying the fact that Mahali is excellent going forward and sometimes even operates under the wingback role. With Safiq and Gary Steven like to anchor the midfield against Vietnam, Mahali will be pivotal in overlapping through the flanks to provide quality crosses into the box. His delivery is equally consistent as well, and Vietnam will definitely be looking to keep tabs on him. Should Mahali earn space down the flank, expect Safee and Norshahrul to have plenty of chances inside the penalty box.

Gary Steven Robbat
Age: 22 years old
Team: Malaysia
Position: Defensive Midfielder
Take his temperament out of the equation, and you have a terrific talent in the form of Gary Steven Robbat. He’s exactly the sort of midfielder Malaysia has been craving to have for years and based on what we’ve seen in the Suzuki Cup thus far, his influence within the team is absolutely indubitable. So here’s the thing. Safiq Rahim will be pushed further upfront, in the absence of Amri Yahya, meaning that Gary would most likely be tasked with blocking the threat brought about by Vietnam’s attacking midfielders and forwards, particularly Vu Minh Tuan. Vietnam are a team that operate excellently if they are allowed the space to do so, which is precisely why Gary’s role in the game will be paramount to Malaysia’s chances of claiming a victory. If he is able to protect the midfield sufficiently, then it leaves Safiq, Safee, Norshahrul and the flankers to complete the job on the offence department.

Le Cong Vinh
Age: 28 years old
Position: Striker
Now here, we’re talking about an extremely prolific goalscorer. Le Cong Vinh may not be the man of the moment, but South East Asia is well aware of how devastating he can be inside the box. More importantly, he’s well equipped with experience as well, which can be decisive in knockout rounds like these. Malaysia’s defence will be without Shukor Adan on the day, so it could be short in terms of experience, though Fadhli Shas and co are more than good enough to hold their fort. But that premise makes Cong Vinh’s role in the game interesting. He doesn’t need to drop deep and do the dirty job, perhaps that would be left to the midfielders. But if Cong Vinh is effectively able to find space within the box, then maybe that’s all Vietnam need. One away goal, would make their job far easier in the second leg, so you would definitely want to keep an eye on Cong Vinh. And just so you know, he’s already fired two goals in the competition so far.

Other posts by