Cheng Hoe wants his men to be wary of Indonesia


  • Football
  • Monday, 18 Nov 2019

Too hot to handle: Syafiq Ahmad (left) fighting for the ball with Yusef Elias Dolah of Thailand during the 2022 World Cup-2023 Asia Cup qualifier Group G match in Bukit Jalil on Thursday. – AP

PETALING JAYA: National team coach Tan Cheng Hoe is keeping his men’s feet well on the ground after the win over Thailand. He knows there’s another big test ahead when they take on Indonesia in their 2022 World Cup-2023 Asia Cup qualifier Group G match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

The Harimau Malaya pulled off a sensational 2-1 win over Thailand at the same stadium on Thursday but the win came at a cost. Striker Syafiq Ahmad and rightback Matthew Davies are suspended for the clash against the Garuda after collecting two yellow cards, while rightback Syahmi Safari picked up a groin injury.

Cheng Hoe said his men needed to keep their focus and be wary of Indonesia who have yet to collect a point after four matches.

“We have some time to come up with strategies ahead of the match. I want my players to remain focused. Indonesia will be determined to collect points... They are under tremendous pressure and we need to be careful, ” said the former international.

“Syahmi’s injury does not look serious and I hope he will be ready in time for the Indonesia match... at the same time we also have other options in the squad.

“We’re not thinking of getting replacements as those called in at such short notice may feel pressured. There are also fitness concerns as the M-League season has ended.”

Syahmi is looking forward to shrugging off his injury and is ready to play if his service is needed.

“My injury is not too serious and I believe it will heal very soon. If I’m picked to play, I will give my all for the team, ” said the 21-year-old.

The Harimau Malaya opened their qualifying campaign with a 3-2 win over Indonesia on Sept 5 followed by narrow defeats to the United Arab Emirates (1-2) on Sept 10 and Vietnam (1-0) on Oct 10.

After four matches, Vietnam lead the standings on 10 points, with Thailand second on seven and the UAE third on six, ahead of Malaysia on goal difference. Indonesia are bottom of the group without a point.

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