ASC2018: ‘Sloppy performance’ needs to be ironed out’ – Cheng Hoe

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Two wins out of two and six points are considered “confidence booster” for Malaysia’s third match in Group A in the AFF Suzuki Cup although the Malaysians dished out another below-par performance in the 3-1 win over Laos.

“I admit we were sloppy in the first half before we started to play after the break,” said head coach Tan Cheng Hoe.

The national flies off to Hanoi on Wednesday for the tough away match against Vietnam at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi on Friday – a match which Malaysia must win to keep the momentum.

Cheng Hoe also revealed that a “disturbing hamstring” forced him to rest the Gambian-born naturalized Malaysia against Laos and replaced by Syafiq Ahmad.

“I did not want to risk playing Sumareh against Laos. We need him for the rough match against Vietnam. It will be a real test of character for the team in Hanoi.

“We will also face a considerable home crowd and hopefully we will be able to handle the situation. Despite the ‘below-par’ performance in the first two matches, I am optimistic the six points has somewhat boosted the confidence of the players.

Cheng Hoe has hinted that there will be changes in the team for the Vietnam match to suit his “tactical changes” in his match plans.

The Harimau Malaya had to come-from-behind for the win over Laos – thanks to a brace from the evergreen Norshahrul Idlan Talaha. The 32-year-old Terengganu-born Pahang striker struck late in the match, in the 86th and again in two minutes of added time to ease the pressure on the team.

Laos scored after seven minutes through delightful freekick by Phithack Kongmathilath before skipper Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak on 14 minutes.

For Cheng Hoe and company it is another part of the journey in a bid to win only their second Suzuki Cup. Malaysia last won the silverware in 2010 and Cheng Hoe was the assistant coach to Datuk K. Rajagobal.- BY RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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