Alfred Riedl, Indonesia’s coach, believes that his team are not as strong as Thailand or Vietnam but insists that anything can happen in knock-out football.
Indonesia face Vietnam in the first leg of the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup on Saturday.
Riedl has had three separate stints with Vietnam throughout his career. While he is totally committed to Indonesia’s bid to reach the final of the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time since 2010, he believes that Vietnam are the superior team.
“In my opinion they [Vietnam] are the second best team in Southeast Asia behind Thailand,” said Riedl.
“They are an experienced team with talented players. Their coach [Nguyen Huu Thang], who is my former captain of the national team, is doing a good job there.
“It will be very difficult for us to advance to the final. They might be a little bit better than us, but they will have to prove it.”
This semi-final tie will be a fascinating one. Indonesia have had no problems finding the back of the net in the tournament so far – they have scored two goals in every game they have played.
However, their defensive record leaves a lot to be desired. On average, they have conceded more than two goals a game.
And it is not as if Vietnam lack an accomplished finisher.
Within their ranks is two-goal hotshot Le Cong Vinh, who is just three goals away from becoming the tournament’s all-time leading goal-scorer.
Riedl went on to say that his team had specifically prepared for the threat Cong Vinh will pose.
“I’ve known him [Cong Vinh] personally for 13 years,” the Austrian mastermind went on.
“He’s a great guy and a good player.
“We’ve tried in our training to do some exercise because we know his movement. It will be difficult to stop him but we are prepared for this.”
The game kicks-off at 20:00 (HKT).