Striker Muhammad Safawi Rasid nailed a hattrick to guide Malaysia 4-0 past Laos as Indonesia made a smashing start to their campaign in Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 when they beat Cambodia 4-2 at the Bishan Stadium today.
It took the Malaysians just seven minutes to prise open the lead when off a quick counter attack, Arif Aiman Mohd Hanapi delivered a cross that was poked into goal by Safawi.
The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) frontman then headed home his second of the evening on 33 minutes as the Malaysian trooped off into the break 2-0 in front.
“The three points was a morale booster. Players played better than from the first game. Today, I put in the best players available, no question of whether he is local or foreign,” said Malaysian head coach Tan Cheng Hoe.
After a string of misses, defender Shahrul Mohd Saad picked up a through pass in the 78th minute for Malaysia’s third goal as Safawi then completed his hattrick two minutes later for the final scoreline.
“We were slow in recovering from the quick counter attack. Things did not go as planned today and while we tried to play more open, we got punished by the experience of the Malaysians,” added Laos head coach V. Selvaraj.
In the meantime, Indonesia made a smashing start to their campaign in Group B with a 4-2 win over a resolute Cambodian side.
Three goals within the first half hour put Indonesia well on the way but Cambodia’s excellent fightback in the second half would have surely given them some anxious moments.
“It was a tough first game and while we managed to score the three goals, we seemed to make things difficult for us soon after that. And this is something which we need to work on,” said Indonesian head coach Shin Tae-yong.
“The situation here is a bit different from where we trained in Turkey which is cold while here it is warm. So we need to make the adjustments. There will be two more players coming in, so we will see who gets to play next.”
Just five minutes in and Indonesia were already one-goal up when Rachmat Irianto headed home the corner from the right before captain Evan Dimas then fired in from the edge of the Cambodian box in the 18th minute to double the advantage.
It was Rachmat again on target in the 33rd minute as Cambodia then replied five minutes later off Yue Safy’s header for their first goal.
And nine minutes into the second half, Indonesia stretched their advantage to 4-1 when Ramai Melvin Rumaklek rifled in a shot from 20metres out.
But Cambodia did not give up as the introduction of veteran Prak Mony Udom and Chreng Polroth gave them more pace and options.
They certainly pushed Indonesia hard and Prak grabbed Cambodia’s second goal right at the hour mark with a well-taken freekick that came off the defensive well and into goal.
“The team got better when we introduced the more experienced players into the team in the second half. It was a very good game today and they showed that they can play at the level that we want,” said Cambodian head coach Ryu Hirose.
AFF SUZUKI CUP 2020
GROUP B (All matches at the Bishan Stadium)
9 December 2021
Malaysia 4-0 Laos
Indonesia 4-2 Cambodia