BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia were made to work hard again, before they could overcome Laos in their second Group A 2018 AFF Championship match on Thursday.
Although Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak only needed seven minutes to cancel out Phithack Kongmathilath's seventh minute opener, the hosts' winning goals only came in the last five minutes of the encounter, courtesy of experienced forward Norshahrul Idlan Talaha's brace (86', 92').
The win has allowed them to go top of the group with six points, following their 1-0 tournament opener win over Cambodia last week.
Speaking in the post-match press conference, head coach Tan Cheng Hoe praised his charges' resolve to break down the stubborn Laos defence and fins the winner.
"Today we got the important three points, six points altogether from the first two group matches like we had planned. But again my men conceded an early goal, while their passing was sloppy in the first half.
"Furthermore, they lacked urgency, were careless under pressure after they went down. The way Laos played made it hard for my charges to perform well.
"However, the three substitutions made in the second half turned things around for us. The team played with heart and was committed throughout the 90 minutes," he remarked.
When asked about his peculiar decision to start the match with five forwards and only one midfielder, the former Kedah boss responded that it was simply a matter of pragmatism.
"We have good attacking players, and we needed goals against Laos. Mohamadou Sumareh has picked up a knock, and I felt that Syafiq Ahmad is the right man to replace him."
And he also provided an update on the Gambian-born player's condition.
"He had picked up a hamstring injury during our final training yesterday (Sunday) morning. We didn't want to risk aggravating it.
"I hope he can recover soon," Tan remarked.
Keep updated on the 2018 AFF Championship!
- Malaysia news
- Tournament news
- Team profiles
- Competition venues
- Fixtures and television schedule
- Group standings
Follow Goal Malaysia 's Instagram account to see photos and watch videos from the AFF Championship!
Syahmi Safari and Mohamadou Sumareh have only been fairly recently introduced to the Malaysia starting line-up, for differing reasons. What does the former think of playing on the right wing with the latter in the #affsuzukicup2018? Syahmi Safari dan Mohamadou Sumareh baru sahaja mendapat tempat dalam kesebelasan utama Malaysia, atas sebab-sebab yang berbeza. Apa pendapat Syahmi bermain di sayap kanan bersama-sama Sumareh dalam Piala AFF?