BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia recorded their first win in the 2019 SEA Games, hammering Timor-Leste 4-0 in their matchday three Group A encounter on Monday.
Although the scoreline was one-sided, the game itself was not. Timor-Leste created numerous chances through their pacy wingers, but fortunately for Datuk Ong Kim Swee's charges, they lacked clinical finishing in front of the goalmouth.
Speaking in the post-match interview, Kim Swee however backed his defenders, saying that they had to lure the opponents into attacking, in order to score against Timor-Leste themselves.
"It's a good three points, which will definitely give us some hope ahead of our last group match against Cambodia.
"It will boost the boys' confidence ahead of Cambodia. They lost against Myanmar but they still have the chance to qualify to the semi-finals. It's not going to be easy, but we have to approach the game with a different playing style.
"My biggest concern was not conceding [against] Timor-Leste and in that way we were lucky. Today our approach was different and against Cambodia it will be another approach altogether. Whether you like or don't, we wanted goals and I had to open up a little bit of gap in our defence and take the risk. I needed their players to go forward and come at us, which would understandably create chances for them," remarked the former SEA Games-gold medal winning coach.
Asked about the Cambodia match, Kim Swee insisted that his objective is simply to win the encounter, as opposed to trying to win the match with a huge margin in order to edge hosts Philippines to the second semi-final spot of the group.
Ahead of the final group stage matchday, Group A has seen Myanmar already qualifying as the group winner. Cambodia are in second place, but are tied on four points with Philippines in third and Malaysia in fourth. Timor-Leste are dead last with no points. Philippines' last group match will be against Timor-Leste. In the tournament, after all the group matches are played out, teams tied on points are separated by goals scored, as opposed to head-to-head results.
"What we need to do is number one; get a win. I don't think about going for a big scoreline. The moment we lead, that is when you start thinking about the next step.
"We can't know what's going to happen in the Philippines match. They may win by two, maybe by three. Our focus is on winning our match first," said the former Malaysia senior team head coach.
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⚽ ⚽ dari @hadifayyadhh dan ⚽ dari @akhyarrashid membantu Malaysia meraih kemenangan pertama di Sukan SEA 2019! . Comeback is real? First win in Philippines achieved for 🇲🇾! Game on 🐯! . #HarimauMalaya #Malaysia #Philippines2019 #MalaysiaU23 #HadiFayyadh #AkhyarRashid #OKS
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