We will improve, says Malaysia coach Tan Cheng Hoe after Mongolia draw

Nicolas Anil Nicolas Anil

Malaysia drew 2-2 with Mongolia on Thursday and head coach Tan Cheng Hoe vows that the team will improve with more time.

Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe believes there are positives to be taken away from the national team’s 2-2 draw against Mongolia in an ‘A’ international friendly on Thursday night.

The result, in front of 10,000 fans at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, stretches Malaysia’s winless streak to 11 matches dating back to November 2016 when they last won against Cambodia.

But Tan, in charge of the senior team for the first team, was not too perturbed.

“Yes, our goals were due to individual mistakes and lapse in concentration, but we tried to pass and move the ball around. Our players were also playing well in general,” Tan told Fox Sports Asia.

“Overall I am satisfied with our play, even though the result was not on our side. I am optimistic the players will play well and gel together even more.”

With a new-look squad containing several Under-23 players and a debut given to the Spanish-born Natxo Insa, Malaysia twice took the lead through a Turbat Daginaa own goal and an Akhyar Rashid strike.

But they were pegged back after individual errors in defence which allowed Mongolia back into the game.

Posted by Football Association of Malaysia (Official) on Thursday, 22 March 2018

Mongolia head coach Michael Weiss, who was without some of his best players, was simply elated to be given an invitation to play a competitive friendly.

“In Mongolia, there is a long winter. We started training on February 15 in an indoor hall as big as this (press conference room) with 14 players. So we struggled with the hot weather, but I’m pleased we managed to hold for 90 minutes,” said Weiss.

“Tactically, we were quite disciplined and managed to disrupt Malaysia’s passing style. We could prevent Natxo Insa from building the game in the final third. We took our chances well, and congratulations to my team.”

The result does not bode well for Malaysia ahead of their trip to Lebanon for their final 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers match.

The West Asia nation may have already qualified to the tournament proper along with North Korea, but they will be intent on finishing the qualifiers with a flourish.

While the result was demoralizing, there is cause for optimism with several encouraging individual performances.

Akhyar made a memorable debut with a lively performance and a goal, while Natxo displayed an assured performance in midfield.

After the Lebanon game, Malaysia will play Nepal in another friendly on April 1.

Photo credit: Football Association of Malaysia Facebook