Tan wants more character from Malaysia after Cambodia win

Nicolas Anil

Malaysia head coach Tan Cheng Hoe wants to see more spirit and determination from his players, who showed character to beat Cambodia 3-1 a friendly on Monday in a front of a packed Phnom Penh Olympic Stadium.

Goals from Shahrul Saad, Syazwan Andik and Shahrel Fikri gave the Malaysians a much needed morale-boosting win over a fired-up Cambodia, who were eager to impress their new head coach Keisuke Honda.

“I want to see more of this never-give-up attitude from my players. I want them to be more composed in away games like this, playing under a good crowd. We still have weaknesses to work on, which we will look to repair to prepare for the Suzuki Cup.”

The victory also went some way to soothe the 2-0 loss to Chinese Taipei last Friday, and Tan can take heart his players showed up on Monday, despite playing in another poor pitch.

Tan fielded a much changed line-up from the one who played against Chinese Taipei.

Akhyar Rashid, Khairul Fahmi Che Mat and Nasir Basharuddin were among the starters, but it was Shahrel Fikri who made the difference from the bench.

The Nakhon Ratchasima loanee crossed for Syazwan to head Malaysia into the lead, before he drilled home in injury time to give Malaysia their third win of 2018.

But it was not only Shahrel who stole the show.

Khairul Fahmi was also immense, pulling at least four remarkable saves in the second half to deny Cambodia.

The Melaka United FA custodian saved from Keo Sokpheng at least twice, and at one point the former PKNP FC striker was left shaking his wondering what he needed to do to get a goal.

Malaysia are scheduled for another two friendlies in October.

They will face Sri Lanka in Colombo on October 12, before welcoming the visit of Kyrgyzstan to the Bukit Jalil Stadium four days later.