Tan Cheng Hoe praises Malaysia’s fighting spirit after loss to Lebanon

Nicolas Anil Nicolas Anil

Malaysia coach Tan Cheng Hoe praised his players for putting up a good fight in their 2-1 loss to Lebanon on Tuesday night.

Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe praised his team’s commitment after they put on a valiant display to lose 2-1 to Lebanon in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers final group match on Tuesday.

Only a Hilal El-Helwe stoppage time winner separated both sides.

Hassan Maatouk had given Lebanon the lead on 19 minutes, before Syafiq Ahmad leveled the score in the 72nd minute.

“They boys did a fantastic job today (Tuesday). I have to complement their efforts for giving Lebanon a good fight,” said Tan after the match.

“I hope this match will be a lesson for them to be focused for 90 minutes. They need to be consistent in the future. But it was still a good result as I had brought in a lot of new faces.”

Tan had called up nine new faces to replace the 12 Johor Darul Ta’zim players who were released after the Mongolia draw last week.

But the former Kedah coach will be happy with efforts shown by his players after the wholesale changes.

Posted by Football Association of Malaysia (Official) on Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Only Matthew Davies and Mahalli Jasuli retained their starting spots, while Akhyar Rashid and Zaquan Adha were the trusted ones to lead the attack.

While the result left Malaysia rock bottom in Group B, the focus now on would be the trained towards the AFF Suzuki Cup in November.

Tan would also be hoping this result gives his side some momentum ahead of another friendly against Bhutan on April 1.

The defeat against Lebanon leaves Malaysia 12 games without a win, and they are desperate to rack up a victory to boost their abysmal FIFA ranking.

On March 15, the Tunku Ismail Ibrahim stated his intention to quit as Football Association of Malaysia president after the national team fell to their worst ranking of 178.

He went through with his resignation last week, and his departure now leaves the national body without a leader.

Malaysia were initially supposed to play Nepal on April 1, but they pulled out because of insufficient players.

The FAM then moved swiftly to arrange the Bhutan match, which will take place at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.