Malaysia Under-16 head coach Lim Teong Kim likened the 6-2 thrashing of Tajikistan to child birth, as the development side romped to a big win at the AFC U16 Championship group opener at Bukit Jalil Stadium on Thursday.
“I’m glad we won this first game, we were looking for a good start and we got it. But it was a difficult win, like child birth. The boys had to work hard to win,” Lim told FOX Sports Malaysia after the win.
Malaysia striker Luqman Hakim was the star with four goals.
Malaysia started slowly, but once Luqman opened the floodgates in the 33rd minute, they were unstoppable.
Even the heavy downpour which descended at the National Stadium failed to halt Malaysia’s momentum, with Najmudin Akmal and Alif Mutalib also scoring.
The only blip in Malaysia’s resounding victory was the red card to goalkeeper Sikh Izhan Nazrel, for an unnecessary foul in the dying stages.
Sikh was superb before his sending off, exuding supreme confidence in his ball handling abilities.
Lim rallied his custodian to bounce back.
“These are kids, he played well in the game. He will learn from this. His absence will give the reserves the chance to play. This is all part of playing, and the kids are allowed to make mistakes.”
While Luqman was undoubtedly the man-of-the-match, Lim said his goals were a result of team effort.
“He scored good goals, but it was a result of a team effort. These boys have been playing together for four years, they know what to do. We will go back and enjoy the three points, and tomorrow is another day.”
Lim will next prepare his boys for Thailand on Sunday, before facing Japan in their final Group A game next Wednesday.
Malaysia are bidding to qualify for the U17 World Cup next year in Peru, through this tournament.
The top four teams will qualify for the 2019 World Cup.
In 2014, Malaysia came within a whisker of qualifying for the 2015 U17 World Cup, but they were upstaged by Australia 2-1.
Photo Credit: FAM