Harimau Malaya face do-or-die clash with Bahrain - Pundit

17 Jan 2024 08:49pm
Dion Cools (left) during a training session recently. - FILE PIX
Dion Cools (left) during a training session recently. - FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - Harimau Malaya have no choice but to go all out in the mandatory mission of winning the second match against Bahrain at the 2023 Asian Cup group stage if they want to revive the chance of advancing to the best 16 round of the competition.

Local football observer, Datuk Richard Scully said Kim Pan Gon’s squad should immediately forget the 0-4 defeat to Jordan in the opening march and instead should focus on making thorough preparations ahead of the do or die outing.

"If we lose against Bahrain, we can forget about our hopes in the Asian Cup, it's a must win game. Don't think about South Korea first, the former needs to come first.

"Harimau Malaya need to organise and identify what constraints came about during the first match against Jordan on that day," he said after appearing as a guest on Bernama TV's 2023 Asian Cup Hayya programme.

Scully said appropriate steps should be taken by Pan Gon to 'deploy' his best players according to the formation for the match against Bahrain ranked 84 in the world.

"With the right profile of players to be fielded especially on strengthening the centreback, I think we have an open chance against Bahrain," he said.

The former Penang goalkeeper said that this is not the time for Pan Gon to 'experiment' by putting a new combination of players which could invite further damage to the national squad.

"Putting an untried combination and expecting it to work on match day, is an extremely high risk to take. Why break it when it's okay?

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"People say this statement is harsh but why do you want to lash out when something is already beautiful, we use the opportunities that are already there with the best layout, believe in what is there and keep our cards close to the chest," he said.

In the opening match against Jordan on Jan 16, two goals each by Mahmoud Almardi and Mousa Altamari gave Jordan the perfect start to top Group E, sharing three points with second-placed South Korea.

Malaysia will square off with Bahrain at the Jassim Bin Hammad Stadium this Saturday before meeting South Korea on Jan 25.

Meanwhile, a closed meeting was also held by Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin with the Harimau Malaya squad at the team's hotel in Doha, Qatar this morning.

The meeting was held to restore their spirit to face Bahrain in the second match of Group E this Saturday.

"The players promised to bounce back and to get points in the match," Hamidin said in a statement - BERNAMA