Coach hails team's character
Published on: Friday, December 07, 2018

BANGKOK: Harimau Malaya head coach Tan Cheng Hoe has attributed his team's great character in fighting back from going behind twice against Thailand in Wednesday night's semi-final, second-leg clash as the key to them qualifying for the AFF Suzuki Cup final.He was full of praise for his men after they held the fancied Thais 2-2 at the Rajamangala Stadium, Bangkok.

The draw, coupled with the goalless stalemate in the first leg at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil, on Dec 1, proved enough for Malaysia to qualify for the final on the away goal rule.

"My men held firm in the face of a fierce Thai onslaught in the first half and then showed great tactical discipline to stay calm, control the game and go forward," he said.

"The first 45 minutes was all about absorbing everything the Thais threw at us. My men held firm in the face of a fierce Thai onslaught. The second half was about staying cool and composed and attacking at the right moment.

"The second half also saw my men show great tactical nous until the final whistle."

Cheng Hoe said he was also calm when Thailand were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes of the second half, adding that he had faith in goalkeeper Mohd Farizal Marlias.

He said that he had told Farizal to pay study the Thai players' penalty kicks.

"I was calm and confident when the penalty was awarded because I knew there was a big possibility that Farizal would have saved Adisak Kraisorn's spot kick," he told the post-match press conference here Wednesday night.

The penalty was awarded by Jordanian referee Adham Mohammad Tumah Makhadmeh when Muhammad Syahmi Safari handled the ball in the box in time added on in the second half.

Luckily, Adisak skied his shot, much to the delight of the 3,000-odd Malaysian supporters in the stadium.

Malaysia will meet either Vietnam or the Philippines in the final, with the first leg scheduled to be held at the National Stadium, Bukit Jalil on Dec 11. The return leg will be on Dec 15. – Bernama


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