KUALA LUMPUR, Harimau Malaya head coach Tan Cheng Hoe, praised the brilliant performance of national forward Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad who fired a hat-trick to help Malaysia defeat Sri Lanka 6-0 in a Tier 1 international friendly at Bukit Jalil National Stadium, here last night.
The 51-year-old hopes the Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) striker will be able to maintain his performance when Harimau Malaya take on Vietnam in the Group G third match in the second round of World Cup 2022 / Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers at My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi on Oct 10.
“Muhammad Syafiq has played in three to four games and his game has improved in every match. I hope he can maintain his consistency, he told a press conference after the match.
In the match, Muhammad Syafiq showed fine finishing touches by scoring in the ninth, 76th and 89th minutes.
The other three goals were scored by Shahrul Mohd Saad in the 14th minute, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (17th minute) and Muhammad Akhyar Abdul Rashid in the 51st minute.
Cheng Hoe also confirmed that three players would not be fielded against Vietnam following injuries namely midfielder Nor Azam Abdul Azih, winger J. Partiban and forward Muhammad Shahrel Fikri Md Fauzi.
He, however, is confident that their absence will be compensated by a number of other players who also played a great match against Sri Lanka tonight.
Meanwhile, Sri Lankan head coach, Nizam Packeer Ali said the big defeat would be the best learning lesson for his players before facing a daunting task against South Korea in their third Group H match of the qualifiers at Hwaseong Stadium in Gyeonggi on Oct 10.
“Malaysia played very well and the pressure they gave to us throughout the match would be a good practice for us before facing South Korea (next week). We had to face the fact that Malaysia are the better side. Our players did well against Malaysia, but the finishing was very poor,” he asserted.
Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)