Zaquan echoes positive mindset ahead of crunch Hanoi trip

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The captain of Malaysia was left disappointed with the outcome of the first leg but doesn't rule out upsetting Vietnam in return fixture.

Two away goals conceded on the night to The Golden Dragons leave Malaysia with an arduous task in the second leg of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup final at My Dinh Stadium where they will need to score to have any hope of lifting the coveted trophy for the second time in the country's history.

On a night of many difficulties, Malaysia played below what they have showed in the matches against Myanmar and Thailand. Vietnam punished defensive lapses once again with two quickfire goals but Harimau Malaya did at least succeed in at least drawing level to give themselves a fighting chance over in Hanoi.

It was a torrid match all around and it was no exception to Zaquan Adha who had to deal with many tough physical battle, including getting a slap in the face off the ball from Do Duy Manh in the first half. But the 31-year-old is not waving the white flag just yet and want his team mates to continue the fight in the second leg.

"The game was tough for us. Both teams were looking for goals. But I'm proud of the team because we kept fighting and we come back to draw the game. While not the preferred result, to have scored in the first leg is better than not."

"We still need to think positively. In football, anything can still happen and it is not impossible for us to cause an upset over there. To be a champion is not easy as it comes with its hills and valleys. We need to stick together and we will continue the fight in Vietnam.

Malaysia v Vietnam, 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup final

"For sure we will be looking to invoke the spirit of Bangkok and take inspiration from that. Maybe there's a lesson for us to learn in this draw, who knows. Maybe if we take a lead there, we could be overconfident. We just need to keep fighting until the end," Zaquan told Goal.

The first leg at Bukit Jalil National Stadium saw Vietnam capitalising on the rawness of Malaysia's defence that had two players in Amirul Azhan and Irfan Zakaria starting their first match in the tournament. 

But Zaquan refuses to blame the two players for the mini-collapse midway through the first half that saw Vietnam raced to a two goal lead. Calling it a team game, the experienced leader is hopeful of improved performance from everyone come Saturday.

"Anyone can make mistakes. Every player has their own merits. In such a game, we cannot blame any individuals. Even though we make full use of the home advantage with the draw, we still need to keep going at it in the second leg," added Zaquan.

 

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