Painful defeat in Hanoi leaves Cheng Hoe shattered

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National football head coach Tan Cheng Hoe was left searching for answers in Malaysia’s 1-0 defeat to Asean football kingpins Vietnam in a Group G match in the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 qualifying round match on Thursday.

The defeat at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi was Malaysia’s second in the Group after another painful 1-2 defeat to the United Arab Emirates at home. The Harimau Malaya won their opening match in the group – winning 3-2 against Indonesia in Jakarta.

Many will agree that the Malaysian Tigers lacked the “spark” they had displayed against Indonesia and the UAE.

Cheng Hoe is equally disappointed with his team’s overall performance at My Dinh so much so he skipped the post-match conference and instead it was the assistant coach S. Balachandran who fielded the questions.

Although disappointed and dejected with the setback in Hanoi, Cheng Hoe, admitting that “it was a struggle throughout the match against Vietnam,” wants his charges to look forward to the coming home matches against Thailand and Indonesia next month.

The former international also reminded his players that “commitment and fighting spirit” alone cannot win matches for the team.

Group favorites the UAE top the group with six points from two wins after a massive 5-0 win over Indonesian at home on Thursday. Thailand and Vietnam have four points each, separated by goal difference with Malaysia on three points. Indonesia is at the bottom without a point. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH 

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