Rajagobal wants more from Malaysia

Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal believes his side must up their game if they are to beat Indonesia on Saturday and qualify for the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-finals.

Norshahrul proving impossible to stop.

By ESPNSTAR.com staff

Harimau Malaya are currently third in Group B after picking up three points from their opening two games, and can guarantee their place in the last four if they defeat Merah Putih at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.

After falling to a 3-0 loss to Singapore in their opening game, they hit back on Wednesday with a 4-1 win over Laos thanks to goals from Safiq Rahim, Safee Sali, Wan Zack Haikal and Khyril Muhymeen Zambri.

But despite the comprehensive nature of that defeat, the Malaysia coach believes his side will have to raise their game even further if they are to beat the Indonesians.

"The players know the importance of tomorrow's [Saturday's] match," Rajagobal said. "They need to have the same confidence like they did against Laos.

"Indonesia have gained more confidence after winning against Singapore so we must play better than we did against Laos.

"I want the same kind of urgency and approach like the game against Laos for the game tomorrow [Saturday]. Players must always have the mentality to win even if we have qualified for the next round."

One of Indonesia's biggest threats so far has been 21-year-old Andik Vermansyah, who came off the bench to net the winner in Wednesday's 1-0 win over Singapore.

Rajagobal believes his players will have to be wary of both Andik and fellow midfielder Muhammad Taufiq in Saturday's clash.

"Andik came in [against Singapore] and gave spark to the game," he added. "Taufiq too is a strong midfielder.

"Of course you have to give certain mention to the players, but most important is to focus on the team."

A draw against Merah Putih could still send Harimau Malaya through if Laos beat Singapore in the other Group B clash, and Rajagobal insists that tie is far from a foregone conclusion.

"I think Laos will give a tough time to Singapore," the ex-Selangor striker said.

"I am actually surprised by the way Laos play with such confidence, no pressure and good commitment. They have nothing to lose."

Indonesia coach Nil Maizar refused to confirm if his side would be cautious on Saturday given they only need a draw to progress, but insists they will be giving it their all against their 'strong' opponents.

"It's not about if we will play for a draw or not," he said. "What matters is the players work hard tomorrow [Saturday].

"I know Malaysia are strong, especially after they won 4-1 against Laos, but I still hope Indonesia can qualify.

"Malaysia could display a physical game tomorrow [Saturday] so our players must be patient. I hope all can do their best with high fighting spirit."

Nil did admit he has a couple of injury worries due to a suspension to Wahyu Wijiastanto and an injury cloud over Hamdi Ramdhan, but reveals he has not yet decided on his starting XI against the Malaysians.

"Our defender Wahyu will not be available as he is suspended and Hamdi is also 50-50," he added.

"I will try and find the best formation with my coaching team. We will decide tomorrow [Saturday] morning."

Indonesia have made the Suzuki Cup four times in their history but have been beaten on every occasion, and are still waiting to be crowned champions of Southeast Asia, something Malaysia finally achieved two years ago.



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