Avid football fans from Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore share their views on how their respective national teams fared on Matchday 1
PANGERAN SIAHAAN | INDONESIA FAN
The scene is quite good in Kuala Lumpur. My stay has been nice, and I expect more Indonesian supporters to attend the next couple of matches.
I'm not satisfied at all with the result against Laos. Indonesia should have cruised away in the first 20 minutes of the game as we dominated the ball and Laos looked fragile all the time. Then the disaster happened. Indonesia looked like a headless chicken in the second half, especially after Bambang was replaced. The saddest part is by the end of the day, a draw looked like a blessing.
We've got to be more ruthless inside the box. Indonesia wasted a couple of great chances and it proved costly. The passing department also needs to be improved. Our passing was abysmal and some of the misplaced passes were fundamental. The defence was also terrible. A better team would have punished us further.
Our next game against Singapore will be crucial. We have to beat them in order to keep any chance getting out of this group alive. I wouldn't bet for our team to beat the hosts in the final match in front of thousands of home supporters.
ASYRAF FAUZI | MALAYSIA FAN
Having the luxury to watch the Malayan Tigers contesting the AFF Cup as a co-host, I can’t believe that the tournament has finally kicked off! The venues are actually within a 40-minute drive (I can't ask for more, can I?). Fans are excited and happy to welcome the famous tournament in the South East Asia region.
The only thing that might have spoiled our mood could be the defeat of our national team to a neighbouring country and bitter, bitter rival.
Aside from losing the first match, we stumbled hard at the first hurdle to Singapore with style. It was certainly a performance that kept the fans of Malayan Tigers from getting a good night's sleep. The team seemed to be defending complacently while the attacking performance more resembled "pass it to Mat Yo when you have the ball" rather than building up meaningful attacking moves and stringing good passes between the players.
The Singaporeans were not playing at full stroke, I believe. Unlike us, however, they took their chances well and used the ball better. It was a poor defensive showing and horrendous individual errors of the Tigers that had caused them such utter embarrassment.
The only positive things that I can conclude from the first match is that Malaysia did play with urgency in the second half as they were busy buzzing for the elusive goal. Mat Yo did put on a good performance and the introduction of Mahali Jazuli has certainly improved Malaysia's attacking moves. Other than that, Malaysia's tactics were ineffective as they hardly tested the opposition keeper.
The Lions were comfortable in conceding foul after foul in their half. We could have capitalised on a set-piece in order to score; Datuk K. Rajagopal should consider sparing some time for his boys to improve their quality in such situations.
As our central midfielders were overrun, was I the only one crying for Gary Robbat's introduction? The midfield area seemed porous and easily penetrated by the opposition. If the Head Coach thinks that Captain Safiq Rahim should play in an advanced role, he should consider placing Robbat behind the skipper. He has the composure, anticipation and skill to play there and soak up pressure on the central area.
Lastly, Safee Sali's sub-par showing should signal that, for now, he cannot be relied on all the time like in the previous tournament. I think at his age, it is best to use him when the opposition is tired and when space is afforded. Against the stout Singaporeans, he starved for service the lack of the lightning pace which he boasted during his prime made him an easy target for physical defenders.
A deserved defeat to the Lions will either make or break the Malaysian National Team. By make, I mean that the defeat could be a good wake up call and remind them that they can no longer rely on their reputation. If they can pick up the form that has been missing for quite some time, they can still make it out of this group. But first, Malaysia must do well during the must-win match against Laos. Having led twice against Indonesia in their first match, Laos will not be an easy opponent. Rajagopal must urge his players to take the game to the Laotians in preparation for what will be the decided against the fellow finalists of AFFSC 2010; the Indonesians. We should treat every game with equal respect in order to get to the final. Or else, the final will be nothing more than a dream.
ARIEF ADITYA | SINGAPORE FAN
The 3-0 win was totally unexpected and credit must be given to Raddy.
It was obvious Shahril Ishak was one player that stole the limelight. But we cannot forget that the spine of the team was players such as Baihakki Khaizan and Mustafic Fahrudin. They dominated and ensured that the Malaysians did not get anywhere near our goal.
There is always room for improvement but at the end of the day the players simply did what the coach has been telling them to do and played well. If Singapore can keep up that mentality it will get them through to the semi-final.
The win against Malaysia does not guarantee us a place in the semis, so there can be no room for overconfidence or complacency. We simply need another three points and it does not matter whether it is against Indonesia or Laos.
For now, we have to remain focused on the remaining two matches.