Alif remains confident of Malaysia's progress

Diminutive forward Alif Mutalib stressed that Malaysia are ready to win against Japan to reach the quarterfinal of the 2018 AFC U16 Championship.

Despite the shock of Tajikistan holding Japan to a scoreless draw, the situation did not differ much for Malaysia. It's a do-or-die battle against Japan on Wednesday in the final Group A clash for Lim Teong Kim's boys.

However, rather than needing a 2-goal margin victory as was thought after the defeat to Thailand. The draw procured by Japan meant that Malaysia only need a single goal win against them to reach the quarterfinal stage of the AFC U16 Championship.

The task that was already hard, was made more difficult after Luqman Hakim's sending off against Thailand which prevents him from featuring against the Samurai Blues. That said, fellow forward Alif Mutalib is still confident that Malaysia can finish the job.

"We started well with a big win over Tajikistan and against Thailand we should have won but for the red card. It was tough after that for us to be one player less and Thailand gained plenty of confidence from that."

Alif Mutalib, Malaysia U16, AFC U16 Championship

"We can come back against Japan as we've put the Thailand defeat behind us now. Of course without Luqman, our attacking side will be weakened but I have every confidence in whoever comes in to replace him. 

"Japan are not that much superior than us, so must remain positive that we can achieve a win against them on Wednesday," said Alif after Monday's recovery training.

Alif's persistency enabled Malaysia to score the second equaliser against Thailand on Sunday to add to the goal his scored in the first match against Tajikistan, the Kedah-born player is one of Malaysia's best attacking threat.

A win will definitely confirm Malaysia's progress to the knockout stage of the competition and inch closer to that World Cup dream. In the event of a draw, Alif and his team mates will be staring precariously over at the other match in hope that Tajikistan do them a favour.


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