HANOI, Oct 11 — National striker Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad admits that his attempt to break through the Vietnamese defence line ended up in a stalemate, which saw Malaysia losing 0-1 in their third match in the second leg of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asia Cup qualifier at My Dinh National Stadium, yesterday.
Muhammad Syafiq became the only national player to produce a dangerous attacking toward the opponent’s goal with a solid header in the 10th minute of the 90-minute of the Group G match.
Immediately after, the 24-year-old Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) player had to fight hard against the home squad’s solid defence thus could not add up to his goal collection from this tournament after scoring one goal each against Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first two matches last month.
He noted that the Golden Dragon squad’s discipline was very strong and with their game formation of five-players in the defence line had made things turning worse.
“We know that Vietnam plays well, has a good defence system that makes it difficult to get through. I admitted that I was struggling to find room to make a move.
“They (Vietnam) also have good defenders and putting five defence players in a line making it very difficult for us to get into their penalty area,” he said when met by Malaysian media after yesterday’s match.
The defeat of the national squad under the guidance of head coach Tan Cheng Hoe, saw Vietnam continuing to hold its unbeaten record against Malaysia in Hanoi since the last time they lost 2-4 on home turf in the 2014 AFF Cup Championship second-leg finals.
The win over Malaysia last night was Vietnam’s eighth win out of the 10 previous meetings since 2012.
Meanwhile, Muhammad Shafiq urged his teammates to set aside the disappointment of the defeat and to go on hunting for as many victories in the remaining five group matches.
“Tonight (last night), the luck was not with us despite trying our best... we need to put in extra effort to win the next game. There are many weaknesses that we need to rectify in order to compete with a team like Vietnam,” he added.
Malaysia will continue its mission to secure an automatic slot to the 2023 Asian Cup finals by hosting Thailand on November 14 and Indonesia on November 19 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil. — Bernama