Malaysia's Ong Kim Swee calls on AFF improvement for Vietnam game
YANGON -- Malaysia chief Datuk Ong Kim Swee is far from pleased with the performance of his side, ahead of Wednesday's second Group B game against Vietnam.
Harimau Malaysia know that a second consecutive victory will almost certainly take them through to the semifinals after they came from behind to secure a 3-2 win against a gutsy Cambodia outfit in their opener on Sunday.
National captain Amri Yahyah saved Malaysia's blushes with a 12-minute double after Chan Wathanaka had twice given the Cambodians the lead in scorching conditions at Thunwunna Stadium.
"We conceded two silly goals. It was not easy to play in the heat. But we are relieved to come from behind, we needed this win. However, there is plenty of work to be done in the next game. We must learn from our mistakes and be better," Ong said.
The former Harimau Muda boss was also left lamenting the decision of referee Abdul Baqi Yaqoob, who allowed Chan's opener to stand despite his assistant raising his flag for offside.
But Ong admitted his men should have stayed focused and carried on, instead of waiting for the referee to blow his whistle for offside.
"My players stopped playing after the linesman raised his flag. There was another incident where a back pass from Cambodia was also not penalised. But we must remember to play to the whistle," he said.
Ong could make changes ahead of the showdown against Vietnam, who were worthy winners in their 2-1 triumph over co-hosts Myanmar in the later kickoff in Group B on Sunday.
"We will watch the Vietnam match [on video], and decide on which players to use," h added.
Man-of-the-match Syazwan Zainon, who levelled for Malaysia in the first half with a sublime effort, was not totally pleased, despite the win.
"I'm not entirely happy with the result, because I believe we are capable of a much better performance.
"But I was proud of my goal, it is every players dream to score in this level," said Kedah's Syazwan, who was making only his second international appearance.
"We will have a recovery session on Monday, and regroup for another big game against Vietnam."
Malaysia's first opening group match triumph in eight years puts them top of Group B on goal difference, ahead of Vietnam.
The Golden Stars will be a different proposition from Cambodia, with speedy flankers, and a goal wizard in Le Cong Vinh.
The veteran striker gave Vietnam victory 10 minutes from time against Myanmar, with a well-taken strike that came off the underside of the crossbar.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.