Vietnamese players revealed weaknesses in the defence line and attacking skills in their three games against Saudi Arabia, Australia, and China, and the October 12 clash is a chance for Park to plug those holes.
Especially Park came under fire following his decision to make a substitution in the October 7 game in which Vietnam were defeated by China in the injury time.
The losing streak put more pressure on Park and his players, forcing them to either secure a win or at least an equalizer in their clash with stronger Omani opponents.
For the Oman side, they enjoyed a surprise win against Japan in their first qualifying match before losing two later matches to Saudi Arabia and Australia.
Head coach Branko Ivanković admitted that the Omani players lack experience in taking on strong rivals, but his players’ 4-4-2 formation seems to be effective as it makes use of individuals’ skills as evidenced in the previous matches.
Seeking countermeasures against Oman, who currently rank 78th in FIFA world’s rankings, is the big question for coach Park, whose Vietnamese side are 96th in the global list. If Vietnam win the match, they will therefore have more advantages ahead of the second phase of Group B fixtures.
The two sides met twice 18 years ago, with Oman winning both matches.
In a friendly match held to prepare for the Asian Games 2018 (ASIAD 18), the Vietnamese’s U23 team defeated their Omani opponents 1-0 thanks to a goal by Van Hau.
The October 12 match is therefore highly important for Oman. With three points after three first matches, they are hopeful of vying for a top three spot in Group B, meaning they are highly determined to beat Vietnam.
The match is set to get underway at the Sultan Qaboos Stadium at 11 p.m. (Vietnam time).