KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysian hattrick hero, Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad concedes that he was at the peak of his performance in his career after helping the Harimau Malaya squad thrash Sri Lanka 6-0 at an international friendly match, last night.
The 24-year-old player scored in the ninth, 76th and 89th minutes and sent a cross which helped Norshahrul Idlan Talaha score a goal in the 17th minute at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The performance saw the Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) striker emerging as the third Malaysian player to score hattricks against Sri Lanka in three meetings between the two teams in Malaysia, after national player Shaharuddin Abdullah in 1972 and Ahmad Hazwan Bakri in 2012.
With the hattrick against Sri Lanka, the Penang-born player had scored five goals in three matches with the team under Tan Cheng Hoe after netting one goal each at the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup qualifying actions against Indonesia and United Arab Emirate (UAE).
However, Muhammad Syafiq said credits must be given to all his team mates in ensuring Harimau Malaya’s stylish win last night, to simultaneously help him achieve his first hattrick in his career for the national team.
”This is the best performance in my career. This may be the sustenance from god after I was injured prior to this…This performance could be a boon from the injury,” he told reporters.
He suffered a knee ligament injury in the first match of the first round 2023 Asia Cup/2022 World Cup qualifier against Timor Leste in June, and missed the reciprocal match which saw Malaysia winning with a 12-2 Aggregate.
Meanwhile, on the action against Vietnam in the qualifying campaign on Thursday at the My Dinh Stadium, Hanoi, Muhammad Syafiq said he and his team mates must work harder to win.
”We must show the determination that we want to win against Vietnam. I feel the pattern of play shown by Sri Lanka is the same as Vietnam, namely, to defend. Maybe, taking the momentum to Hanoi could be an advantage for us,” he added.
Source: BERNAMA (News Agency)