MALAYSIA are in the driver’s seat to qualify for the semi-finals of the men’s Under-23 football competition after two straight Group A wins.
But coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is far from pleased despite his team’s identical 2-1 wins over Brunei and Singapore.
The former international is concerned with the sloppy defensive errors shown in the two matches, which allowed their opponents to hit back and put his men under undue pressure.
“It’s good that the mistakes happened now because we have time to rectify them. The two goals we conceded against Brunei and Singapore were all down to our own mistakes,” said Kim Swee at the post-match press conference after their come-from-behind 2-1 win over Singapore at the Shah Alam Stadium on Wednesday.
“We lost concentration and made mistakes in our passing. That shouldn’t happen. If we want to qualify for the next stage, we have to stop committing these kind of mistakes. There is still room for improvement,” said Kim Swee.
Myanmar lead the five-team Group A standings with six points – ahead of second-placed Malaysia on goal difference. Brunei, Laos and Singapore have yet to pick up any points.
Malaysia need one more win from their two remaining matches to clinch their ticket to the last four. They will face Myanmar on Aug 21 before wrapping up their group fixtures against Laos on Aug 23.
On Wednesday, two second-half substitutes – midfielder Muhd Nor Azam Abdul Azih and striker N. Thanabalan – were on target in the 67th and 73rd minutes to complete the comeback after Singapore had taken the lead through midfielder Amiruldin Mohd Nodin in the 37th minute.
“The two subs made the difference. We couldn’t find our rhythm in the first half. We changed our movement and played much better in the second half. I believe we’ll play better after this,” said the 46-year-old.
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