Only three points to show after three matches played in the joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup qualifications does not give much confidence to Malaysia's hopes of progression and it heaps added pressure on the team to deliver when the for the only time in the group stage, Harimau Malaya has back-to-back home games.
The 1-0 loss to Vietnam was not what the team needed after a promising start to the qualifications and it put in sharp focus that there's plenty more work that need to be put into the training field for Malaysia. The vibrancy found in earlier matches was not sustained and it was a lacklustre performance showed at My Dinh Stadium, something which Farizal concur with.
"It was disappointing that we couldn't take home at least one point. We still need to improve our confidence level and also technically because here (in Hanoi) it looked loose. This was not a shameful defeat but we have to accept it nonetheless.
"We tried our best but of course there were lapses in concentration. We have to increase our game intensity, keep the ball better and be more composed when we go on the attack. For the goal, maybe there was a lack of communication between Shahrul and me, and that is something we also need to work on.
"I hope in the coming games that the players will be more prepared and work on the weakenesses that we have. We have to get full points in those matches so keep alive our hopes of going to the next stage," said Farizal after the match.
For Farizal, the goal Nguyen Quang Hai scored makes it five goals conceded from three matches played in Group G where he and the Malaysian team has yet to be able to keep a clean sheet. Indonesia's 5-0 loss to United Arab Emirates on Thursday meant that there is still one team below Malaysia in the table and they will be the next immediate opponent on November 19.
With Malaysia not involved in the next set of matches to be played on Tuesday and the cancellation of the international friendly against Hong Kong, the players have been released back to their respective clubs. Tan Cheng Hoe can only hope fitness can be maintained with some of the players no longer involved in any domestic competitions for the rest of the year.
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