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AFF Championship

Experienced Khairul preaches caution against Laos

10:07 AM SGT 12/11/18
Khairul Fahmi, Malaysia, 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup
Despite the gap between Malaysia and Laos, Khairul Fahmi still wants to see the same high commitment from his team against the underdogs.

As one of only two members of the squad remaining from the cup-winning side of 2010, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat knows what the AFF Suzuki Cup is all about and as well as the pitfalls that it can come in.

After edging out Cambodia in the first game, Laos are the next opponent and despite them only ever winning two matches in the entire history of the AFF Championship, Khairul pledges not to take them lightly.

“We must go into the match against Laos with confidence and not overconfident because we cannot underestimate Laos. We need to go for three points because we’re playing at home,” said Khairul on Monday.

For the fourth successive AFF Championship, Khairul started as the first choice goalkeeper for Malaysia and played from the first match. However those in front of him were a little different than before.

Against Cambodia, the back four plus Khairul started their first match together under Tan Cheng Hoe. But Khairul is already liking what he saw in playing together with Syahmi Safari, Aidil Zafuan, Shahrul Saad and Syazwan Andik.

“It was the first time we played together but separately we’ve played together before so as a group, it wasn’t that hard to built it up. Because we are all close as a family, everything is progressing smoothly,” he added.

On Wednesday, the team will be travelling to Hanoi to face Vietnam, a team that Cheng Hoe and V. Sundramoorthy have stated openly are the favourites for the tournament. Despite starting off with two comparatively easier games in Cambodia and Laos, Khairul brushed away any notion that the first two matches acts as part of the preparation towards playing Vietnam.

“The preparation for the tournament completed against Maldives. When the tournament started against Cambodia, that was that. These two games are serious games for us and we’re not taking it to prepare for Vietnam,” explained Khairul.

Laos were hammered by Vietnam 0-3 in their opening match and if Malaysia are to open up a three points gap to Vietnam (who are not playing in match day 2), the Malayan Tigers should also be aiming to match or better the goal difference margin.

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