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Safawi promises more efficient Malaysia against Timor Leste

9:52 AM WAT 03/06/2019
Safawi Rasid, Malaysia v Nepal, 2 Jun 2019
The JDT forward got amongst the goals against Nepal but was also culpable for missing several good opportunities to increase the margin for Malaysia.

It was a start to a match unlike anything seen before in a Malaysian team under the tutelage of Tan Cheng Hoe. Ever the so slow starter, Cheng Hoe's teams tend to grow in the match and become strong as the minutes add on. Yet the opposite happened against Nepal with Malaysia starting at 100km/h right from the first whistle.

Shots after shots were thrown at Kiran Kumar in Nepal's goal with the visitors hardly getting any ball possession of their own. Syazwan Zainon hit the post and Safawi himself had a few shooting opportunities from the edge of the box and the area surrounding it. But when the half time whistle blew, Nepal's fort still held on.

When the goal finally came, it was through the penalty spot which Safawi sent Kiran the wrong way to put Malaysia ahead early in the second half. The Johor Darul Ta'zim forward knows that his team cannot afford to waste good chances created when the crucial encounter against Timor Leste comes into view.

"This is a Tier 1 match that we won, so the points gained will probably help improve our rankings. So far so good, but we need to improve our combinations and also try to cut out all the small mistakes in our game. The first half we had plenty of chances to score but couldn't take it.

"That's one of things we need to improve. But there's still time for us to sharpen our touch in front of goal and we will be focus in doing so," said Safawi after the match. 

Safawi missed the last round of internationals in March as he was then used in the Under-23 squad participating in the AFC U23 Championship qualifiers which happended in the same week as the Airmarine Cup. Without him, Malaysia did lack players who capable of finding the back of the net.

Against Nepal, Safawi showed a good understanding and partnership with Syafiq Ahmad who had the freedom of the number 10 role right behind Norshahrul Idlan Talaha. A partnership that was started in the U23 and then honed in JDT, their combination play created several early goal-scoring chances for the home side.

Given the form they are in, both Safawi and Syafiq are expected to continue their alliance and partnership in the two matches against Timor Leste on 7th and 11th to decide who will be going through to the second round of the 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualification.


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