Malaysia's Tan calls for focus ahead of Vietnam tie
Kuala Lumpur: Head coach Tan Cheng Hoe is hoping Malaysia will maintain the momentum which carried them to a 6-0 win over Sri Lanka in an international friendly on Saturday into their Asian Qualifiers campaign.
Malaysia face Vietnam in Hanoi on Thursday in a Group G match needing a positive result after having fallen to a 2-1 defeat to United Arab Emirates last month.
The Southeast Asians had opened their bid to qualify for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 with a thrilling 3-2 win over Indonesia in Jakarta.
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Vietnam will be a tough outfit to tame, having beaten Malaysia in the 2018 AFF Cup final, and Tan said he wants his team to be fully focused for the clash against their Southeast Asian rivals.
“It is a very good result (against Sri Lanka). My players were focused and showed commitment throughout the match.
“I hope the players will continue this momentum when we play Vietnam," said Tan to local media.
One player who Tan can surely count on is Syafiq Ahmad, who scored a hat-trick against Sri Lanka.
Syafiq scored in the ninth, 76th and 89th minutes while Shahrul Saad (14th), Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (17th) and Akhyar Rashid (51st) were the other scorers.
“it is great to score a hat-trick. We showed character and composure throughout the match. I hope we can continue with this pace in Hanoi,” said Syafiq, who also scored in the matches against Indonesia and UAE.
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, will have to work on tightening their defence ahead of their Group H tie against Korea Republic in Hwaseong on Thursday.
The South Asians desperately need a result after having suffered defeats to Turkmenistan (2-0) and DPR Korea 1-0).
They will host Lebanon on October 15.
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