OKS anticipating toughest match against free-scoring Myanmar

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Datuk Ong Kim Swee is under no illusion that the next match against Myanmar will be the toughest that his Malaysian side will have played thus far

The Malaysia national Under-22 squad has already put the Wednesday triumph against Singapore behind them and the focus right now is only on Monday's match against Myanmar. Despite only needing a point to qualify for the semi-finals, Datuk Ong Kim Swee is taking no chances and desperately wants the top spot in Group A.

With four days of rest between the two matches, Ong has adequate amount of time to get his players fully recovered and all charged up for the top of the table clash against Gerd Zeise's team. Myanmar have already confirmed their ticket to the next stage but Zeise has indicated that he will not be resting his players for the important encounter.

The match against Singapore was a largely bruising one for Malaysia but luckily for Ong, he has a clean bill of health with respect to the squad, even Akhyar Rashid who suffered a strong tackle late on in the match - is not suffering any ill effects from it.

"All is good now and no one is injured. Every game is very tough but Myanmar will give us a stronger fight compared to Singapore and Brunei," said Ong prior to the training session on Friday night.

Ong is looking forward to pitting his wits against Zeise again, having faced the German in the 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup as well as a friendly match played last month. However, he isn't too perturbed as to which side that Zeise will put forward and only wants his players to focus on their game plan.

Despite Aung Thu in great form and already at the four goals mark, Ong is adamant that it will be more of an overall defensive structure that is important compared to employing a specific tactic to counter arguably the most in-form striker in the competition.

"That's up to them [player selection for Monday]. We only have to concentrate on ourselves. We need to qualify and we'll try to get maximum points on Monday."

"No, I don't believe in concentrating on a player. You have to be aware but not concentrate on just one. But we know that Aung Thu is a good player and we need to be switched on to stop his penetration runs," added Ong.

The 47-year-old coach also chimed in on the situation surrounding pre-tournament favourites Thailand, noting that they are still the best side in the competition and that there's a sense of them saving the best for last.

"It's only two games. Most important, I believe Thailand just need wins. They are not looking at how many goals they score. They have Vietnam after this, so I think that's their main rivals. Even without their best players, I believe Thailand can beat any team in group B but I think we'll see their best team against Vietnam," said Ong.

With a capacity crowd expected at Shah Alam Stadium on Monday night, it sets up what is likely to be the first of many exciting fixtures in the 2017 KL SEA Games, as the tournament heads into the crunch period.

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