KUALA LUMPUR, May 29 — Harimau Malaya chief coach Tan Cheng Hoe is obviously disappointed with his charges for committing careless mistakes which caused them to lose 0-2 to Bahrain in a friendly at Bahrain National Stadium in Riffa early today.
Cheng Hoe said the two costly mistakes also affected the team’s momentum in the tie, the second and last warm-up match for Malaysia in the Middle East.
Team morale also took a hit after they failed to convert scoring opportunities that were created, especially in the first half, he added.
“...it somewhat affected team confidence and goals arising from the penalty and (other) individual mistakes broke our rhythm in the match,” he said in a video recording shared on the official Facebook page of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) today.
Defender Muhammad Irfan Zakaria’s uncalled for action in grabbing and bringing down Mahdi Abduljabbar in the penalty box allowed the Manama Club striker to put Bahrain ahead in the 41st minute through a spot kick.
Goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Marlias’s failure to catch the ball clean in the danger zone then led to Bahrain scoring their second goal through substitute player Mohd Jassim Marhoon in the 61st minute.
Malaysia had lost 1-4 to Kuwait in their first warm-up match in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) last Sunday.
Cheng Hoe said the Bahrain match showed that his players needed to pay more attention to counter-attacks by their opponents.
“I hope we will be better prepared to face UAE, but we must work harder as a team, keeping our focus at all times. I believe the players know their individual weaknesses, and we will rectify them from time to time,” he added.
Cheng Hoe said among the positive signs from the match were the team’s ability to create golden scoring chances and defend as a team.
The 52-year-old coach reminded his players to control their emotions in every match to avoid losing focus, or worse being sent off the field.
In the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 Group G second round qualifying campaign in Dubai, Malaysia will play UAE on Friday, followed by Vietnam on June 11 and Thailand on June 15. — Bernama