Malaysia pulled off an impressive victory over Thailand in the semi-finals of the 2018 AFF Cup. The side drew 2-2 in the second leg to secure progression on away goals. Strikes from youngster Syahmi Safari and seasoned veteran Norshahrul Idlan saw the visitors come back after going behind twice in Bangkok. Football Tribe Malaysia’s Aiman Nazirmuddin walks us through this historic night for Harimau Malaya.
Final Score: Thailand 2-2 Malaysia
Football Tribe Man Of The Match: Syahmi Safari
Chatchai's 'Nightmare' Claims Inspire Malaysia
Comments from Thailand goalkeeper Chatchai Budprom, who claimed Malaysia would face a real 'nightmare' at the Rajamangala, was a source of encouragement to the Malaysian team. Malaysia captain Zaquan Adha admitted his team was fired up by his pre-match claims. Meanwhile, Chatchai conceded two goals last night and did not play well throughout the game. It seems like his comments may have ended up haunting him instead.
The budding right back once again put in an excellent performance, as he scored the equaliser to tie the game up at 1-1. His goal from outside penalty box encouraged Malaysia's troops to work harder. Syahmi Safari is a young man who never gives up.
Never Give Up
Harimau Malaya showed a true fighting spirit as they salvaged the game after going behind to Thailand twice. Goals from Syahmi Safari and Norshahrul Idlan Talaha showed that Tan Cheng Hoe's refused to give up until the final whistle, a mentality which ultimately rewarded them.
Malaysia's players were able to maintain their tactical approach to the game across both legs of the tie. In the first game against Thailand, Malaysia started aggressively when they attacked the opponent from the first minute. In the second game yesterday, everyone thought that the side would end up playing more defensively. However, Harimau Malaya defied expectations, as they once again consistently attacked from the start of the first minute to the end of the game.
Malaysia are regarded as being slightly fortunate, as Thai striker Adisak Kraison failed to complete a penalty kick. If Adisak managed to put the ball in the back of the net, it would have been a totally different story.