He's the man of the moment, the one forward in Tan Cheng Hoe's team that is truly on-fire, at least from an international perspective. Starting with the goal he scored against Indonesia at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, it is now five in three matches for Syafiq Ahmad, making him a sure starter for the World Cup qualifier against Vietnam next week.
A hattrick of goals and one assist was the sum of the output that Syafiq produced against a hapless Sri Lanka side with each goal showing variety. Smart move to get himself into the box for the first goal, solid first touch and finish for the second and a spectacular volley for the third, Syafiq is making himself one of the first names on Cheng Hoe's starting eleven.
"We managed to get a win by playing really good football. It was only against Sri Lanka but the result does give the team a boost in confidence ahead of Vietnam. For myself, after the injury this is the best form I've been in for the whole of my career.
"But this is not my individual performance, I had a lot of help from my team mates and it was good to see a good team performance. Against Vietnam, we have to produce more than we did against Sri Lanka. We have to show the character that we want to win against Vietnam," said Syafiq after the match.
Played in the midfield ahead of the more defensive-minded duo of Brendan Gan and Akram Mahinan, the match at Bukit Jalil National Stadium sees Syafiq shine as the link man between midfield and attack. Operating just behind Norshahrul Idlan Talaha, Syafiq was given the creative license in the absence of Nor Azam Azih.
If Malaysia looked a bit lost on the attacking front in the last two matches played at My Dinh Stadium against Vietnam, the presence of a red-hot Syafiq offers a potential solution. Fundamentally a striker being asked to play slightly deeper, Syafiq has the natural instincts that could potentially break the defensive lines of a solid Vietnam defence.
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