BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysian forward Mohamadou Sumareh had a dream debut for his adopted country, when he led their 4-1 comeback win against Sri Lanka, in a friendly on Friday.
He came on at the start of the second half in the match that was held in Colombo, while Malaysia were trailing by one goal, troubling the hosts' defence into conceding two goals. The Gambian-born forward then capped off a fine night by scoring two goals himself; in the 85th minute and injury time.
When met at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Saturday morning, Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe praised the Pahang man's performance in the friendly, particularly how he has quickly adapted to the team.
"He played well in the match. We knew he has the individual quality needed, but he has also adapted to the team."
But he was not particularly pleased with the performance of his defence, who have conceded first in their second consecutive match.
In their previous friendly, against Cambodia in September, Tan's charges had to come back from one goal down, to win the tie 3-1.
"As a whole, my boys played well. But again they conceded in the first half, which would be a big mistake in a competitive setting. In the AFF Championship, we can't be playing like this; having to fight back because we let in a goal. It's going to be tough to win, so the players need to keep their focus.
"Our back four were a little all over the place; they lacked the cohesiveness as I've kept changing things around in defence in the past matches.
"But credit to them, they bounced back to win the match in the second, and I have to praise them for this winning desire," said the former Kedah boss.
But the win did come at a heavy price, namely injury to one of their key-players, forward Shahrel Fikri Fauzi.
"Shahrel looks to have been seriously injured, which will impact our preparations for the coming friendly. We have to keep monitoring him in the coming few days."
The Harimau Malaya will next play in another friendly match; against Kyrgyz Republic on Tuesday, at the Hang Jebat Stadium, Melaka.
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