Malaysia Under-23 defender Dominic Tan says his fired-up teammates are ready for either Japan or Vietnam in the last-16, but more importantly they are eager to finish the Asian Games group stage with a victory against Bahrain on Monday.
The Malaysians have got the entire nation buzzing after they upset defending champions South Korea 2-1 on Friday to top Group E, and seal a last-16 spot where either Japan or Vietnam awaits.
They top the group with six points after also defeating Kyrgyzstan 3-1 on August 15.
But Dominic, who has starred in defence with two assured displays, is ready to put the South Korea euphoria aside and get on with business.
“Of course we are happy with that win, but it’s in the past and we have to put our heads down and continue working hard for a good game against Bahrain. We are ready for anyone, but it’s about focusing on ourselves more,” Dominic told FOX Sports Malaysia.
Malaysia defended from the front against Korea, and that will be the same approach going into the Bahrain encounter and last-16.
“Defensively, it starts from the strikers. The midfield and strikers have done a brilliant job to keep us covered. Defensively as a team we have been doing well, but I’m sure there are things we can work on for the upcoming matches.”
Malaysia head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee will not be taking Bahrain lightly by any means, and wants to field his strongest line-up to finish the group with a flourish.
“The last game is important and we need to be consistent. I believe all the players still want to play. I hope all of them will be fully recovered after two days rest and I can play my best team.”
Whichever team Ong puts out, Malaysia come into their final group match as favourites against Bahrain, who have only picked up a point from two matches.
Man-of-the-moment Safawi Rasid is expected to play some part in this match, along with Akhyar Rashid and Syafiq Ahmad.
But Ong could also give young forward Hadi Fayyadh more game time, to provide solid cover for Syafiq.
Photo Credit: FAM