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AFF Championship

Safawi's sacrifice for the Malaysian cause

06:28 GMT+3 01/12/2018
Safawi Rasid, Malaysia, AFF Championship, 08112018
The powerful wide forward hasn't shown his best in the tournament thus far but is hoping to ride on the positive performance against Myanmar.

2018 has been a fruitful season in front of goal for Safawi after he plundered in 24 goals in all competitions for Johor Darul Ta'zim, Malaysia senior national team and Malaysia Under-23 national team. But it all seemed to have dried up when it came to the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup.

The 21-year-old Safawi has been a prolific goalscorer all season long for the teams he played but has struggled to produce the same kind of efficiency despite being the player with the most shots in the current Suzuki Cup tournament.

Not only that, his overall contribution to the game has also taken a big hit in the first three matches that Malaysia were involved in. Positive signs of turnaround did happen in the last match against Myanmar and Safawi is hoping to use that upward turn to good effect against Thailand.

"In the past games, I haven't gotten what I wanted but against Myanmar I managed to get a performance to be pleased at. Even though I didn't score but I got an assist and played to what the coach wanted from me."

"Of course against Thailand I want to perform for the team again so that we'll get a favourable result to take to the second leg in Bangkok. As a striker, of course I want to score. But ultimately I'm willing to sacrifice that if it meant that Malaysia wins," Safawi told Goal.

It will not be easy for Safawi in the two-legged semi-final against the undoubted kings of Southeast Asian football and particularly for the left footer could come up against a tough Thai right back in Philip Roller.

Having been used for large parts of the season in the right wing position where Safawi could utitlise his prowess on his left foot to cut inside, he is adapting to being deployed on the left by Tan Cheng Hoe who prefers to have Mohamadou Sumareh in Safawi's usual position.

With a full week of training and preparation for this mammoth match against Thailand, Malaysian fans will be hoping to see a Safawi firing on all cylinders to propel Harimau Malaya to a good lead to take to the return fixture in four days' time.


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