Malaysia's Tan grounded despite big wins

Published on: 12 June 2019

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe stressed there is still work to be done after his team defeated Timor-Leste 5-1 in the second leg in their FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup 2023 Preliminary Joint Qualification, advancing 12-2 on aggregate.

The former Kedah head coach made four changes to his line-up from their 7-1 victory in the first leg last week, bringing in Muhd Syazwan Andik, Shahrel Fikri, Akhyar and goalkeeper Mohd Ifwat Kamal.

The changes did little to dent Malaysia’s attacking prowess as the Harimau Malaya put three goals past the Timorese in the first half and added two more after the break.

Despite the huge wins against Timor-Leste, the 51-year-old Tan was more concerned about his team’s preparations for the next round.

“There is not much time left to work on these elements but we will do the best we can before the next round starts in September,” said Tan.

Goalkeeper Ifwat did not feature in the first leg against Timor-Leste but the Kedah FC shot stopper was impressive throughout on Tuesday, even saving Joao Freitas’ 29th minute penalty. He was, however, denied a clean sheet by Rufino Gama’s consolation goal for Timor-Leste.

The 22-year-old, who replaced Farizal Marlias between the sticks, admitted Malaysia can still improve.


Asian Qualifiers: Timor-Leste v Malaysia

“I think we did well to score 12 goals over two legs but there is a lot we still need to improve on.

“We need to work on our focus during matches, and I am also worried about the two goals we conceded against Timor Leste.”