PETALING JAYA: Harimau Muda Under-16 coach S. Balachandran was full of praise for his team’s fighting spirit after their thrilling 3-1 comeback win over Chonburi FC of Thailand in the first leg of the Asian Champions Trophy semi-finals.
Defending champions Chonburi FC grabbed the lead after 16 minutes through midfielder Sittichok Paso at the Frenz Stadium in Janda Baik on Saturday. Najib Abdullah then restored parity for the Malaysians in the 27th minute.
Two late strikes by Amirul Syazwan (78th) and in-form forward M. Kogileswaran Raj (87th) gave Harimau Muda the deserved victory.
“I am very excited with this win. The boys came back strongly after going down early in the game. But we can also expect a strong fightback from Chonburi in the return-leg match,” said Balachandran.
“We have one week to prepare our strategy against the Thais and I believe the boys know what to expect and what needs to be done,” added the former international.
The second leg will be played at Chonburi FC Stadium on Aug 18.