KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 — The Harimau Malaya’s 6-0 victory over Sri Lanka in the international friendly last night has certainly helped boost the players’ confidence, but it should not be made a yardstick to face Vietnam.
The squad’s veteran defender, Aidil Zafuan Abd Radzak has reminded his teammates that Vietnam, which currently rank 99th in the world, were much tougher opponents to beat.
The 32-year-old, however, pledged to lead the team’s backline to prevent any goalscoring opportunity for their opponents in Group G action of the second round of the 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asia Cup qualifiers at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Thursday (October 10).
“Our mission has been to set the mindset of our team that we don’t want to lose anymore, because we’ve had enough of defeats. It’s not easy to fight on their (Vietnam’s) turf, our focus will be on finding the goal as early on as possible in the match.
“As a defender, I will try my best to defend. Vietnam have great players, so as a defender, I will be focused on not slipping up and not giving them a chance to score,” he told reporters.
Meanwhile, The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) player praised his teammates who have performed well, and said the attacking line-up had greatly improved compared to when they met Vietnam in the Asean Football Federation Cup Championship last year.
“We are faster and keep the ball well, as well as less careless. Those are among the improvements I’ve observed, “he said.
Meanwhile, national head coach Tan Cheng Hoe, who had previously been concerned with the country’s defence which let in five goals in three games prior to meeting Sri Lanka, said he was confident Aidil could steer the younger players in the squad.
“With experienced players like Aidil, he can provide guidance to the younger players. Our focus on tonight’s (last night) game was to attack, and at the same time, defend well,” he said.
The national squad had lost 0-1 to Jordan (friendly), won 3-2 against Indonesia, and experienced a 1-2 defeat to the UAE before drubbing Sri Lanka, 6-0. — Bernama