Malaysia football team interim coach Ong Kim Swee believes his boys will score against Yemen in the final group match of the Asian Cup qualifying round in the UAE on Wednesday.
PETALING JAYA: Interim coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is confident that his strikers will score in their final Asian Cup Group D qualifying match against Yemen in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Wednesday.
The national team were unlucky to be held to a goalless draw by the Philippines in a friendly international at the Selayang Stadium last Saturday.
The Malaysians had a valid goal from defender Mohd Amiridzwan Taj Tajuddin’s header disallowed for handball, while attempts by Mohd Aidil Zafuan Abdul Razak, Safiq Rahim and Mohd Amri Yahyah were all denied by the woodwork.
“We missed quite a number of chances. We had three attempts denied by the woodwork in a 10-minute spell. It goes to show the players are slowly getting back to their scoring ways,” said the 43-year-old coach from Al Ain on Monday.
“We just need to polish up the finishing. The players are working hard and I believe the hardwork will pay off.
“I had to rest the players who were involved in the AFC Cup from the Philippines match to keep them fresh. Those rested look fresher now and will be in contention for the Yemen match.”
The former international added that although his backline played well against the Philippines, they need to step up their game against winless Yemen.
Malaysia were forced to mount a comeback to beat Yemen 2-1 in the first round of the group stage at the Shah Alam Stadium last March.
“Our defenders did well to deny the Philippines strikers from scoring but Yemen are a better and tougher side,” said Kim Swee.
“Yemen have several individual players who can cause us trouble from counter-attacking moves if left unchecked. We can’t afford to lose focus in this match as mistakes will be punished.”
Malaysia need a win to have a mathematical chance of qualifying for next year’s Asian Cup Finals in Australia as the best third-placed team. Iraq (Group C) are leading the race with six points followed by Lebanon (Group B) with five while Malaysia, Syria (Group A) and Hong Kong (Group E) are tied on four each.