JOHOR BARU: All is not lost for Malaysia.
Skipper Safiq Rahim (pic) believes that the national team will bounce back in their second 2019 Asian Cup Group B match against Hong Kong on Sept 5.
Safiq, who made his return to the national team after retiring last July, could not prevent Harimau Malaya from losing 2-1 to Lebanon in their opening match at the Larkin Stadium on Tuesday.
The 29-year-old started well in the engine room before fading off as the game wore on. That allowed Lebanon to gain control of midfield.
“We couldn’t maintain our momentum and advantage from the first half but we gave our best. Their number 20 (Rabih Ataya) is a very good player and caused us a lot of problems. He changed the game when he came in the second half,” said Safiq.
“We also suffered from lapses of concentration and our confidence was low when Lebanon began pressuring us.
“We need to be more consistent, like how we played in the first half. But this is what we need to learn. This is a good lesson for us.”
The Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) player feels that “there are plenty of positives that we can take from this game”.
“We cannot be negative with this result. The coach (Eduardo Vingada) has only had the full team for 10 days, so I am confident we can improve,” said Safiq.
“The management and coaching staff have done their best, so we – the players – will have to do better.”