Malaysia have catapulted themselves into the race for a place in the next round of qualifying. Two consecutive home wins this international break, against Thailand and Indonesia, have seen them leap into second place behind Vietnam with 9 points. Football Tribe Malaysia’s Amin Anas discusses their incredible achievement and their hopes going forward:
Malaysia back four displayed a better quality of defending this time around. Both center-backs Shahrul Saad and Aidil Zafuan were undeniably strong in blocking any attempts from the opponent. This was the first clean sheet for Malaysia in this campaign after five matches.
22-year-old Safawi proved his world-class quality with a superb free-kick goal and for punishing the mistake made by Indonesia’s captain Yanto Basna in the second half to complete his two goals in each half last night. Previously, Safawi was criticized for not being able to get on the scoresheet. However, the Dungun born winger proved them wrong with a fantastic performance.
Tan Cheng Hoe’s squad set out with the mission to collect all six points against both Thailand and Indonesia, and it now has been completed successfully. This is the sweetest ending for 2019 for the Malaysia national squad. Cheng Hoe believes that the first half of the journey was a positive result for the team, who are looking forward to resuming in 2020.
Two Outstanding Goalkeepers
Both of Malaysia’s goalkeepers were used last night. What makes them special is the way they both protected their goal and maintained a clean sheet. Khairul Azhan was forced into a full-stretch save which resulted in an injury, being replaced by Farizal Marlias. Farizal conceded a penalty kick but then calmly denied the spot-kick taken by Osas Saha. They both need to be recognized as heroes for Malaysia too.
After all, the most important element for last night's clash is teamwork. Malaysia would not have achieved the victory without teamwork. Football is a game of the whole team. Even for a group of star players - if they can't manage to work as a team, then they will obviously be defeated. The determination of each player was top class.