PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian team’s morale-boosting 3-1 win over causeway rivals Singapore should set them up for a tough encounter against Cambodia today in the Asean Football Federation (AFF) Under-19 football tournament.
Malaysia’s victory at the Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday was certainly sweet for the team and interim coach Brad Maloney as it made amends for their earlier 1-0 loss to Vietnam in their first Group B game.
Firdaus Kaironnisam scored in the sixth and 51st minutes while Luqman Hakim Shamsudin netted the third in the 81st minute. Zamani Md Zamri scored for Singapore in the 75th minute.
“We started reasonably well and the early goal gave us confidence.
“Overall, our performance was good as we created lots of decent chances, ” said Maloney.
“Mario (nickname for Firdaus) was brilliant as he scored two goals, and was involved in almost most of the moves during our attacks.
“Luqman also worked very hard for the team but it was a performance to remember for Mario.”
Maloney, however, is wary of Cambodia who shocked one of the favourites, Thailand, 4-3 on Friday.
“They got a good result against Thailand, so we cannot take them lightly.
“I’ll be addressing our boys on whom they should keep a close eye on and what they should do against the Cambodians.”
One Cambodian player that is certainly garnering attention in the tournament is 16-year-old Sieng Chanthea, who has scored three goals in two matches.
Chanthea made his senior debut for Cambodia in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on June 6 and also became the youngest player to score a goal for his country in a 2-0 win over Pakistan.
“There are three to four Cambodian players that we should keep a close watch on. I foresee a good match for us.”
Maloney, who was appointed the team’s interim coach in June, said the players in the current squad are quite talented.
“In the three weeks I trained them, I’ve seen that they can adapt quickly to our style and philosophy of play – which is possession-based football.”
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