Arif Aiman shines, but fans left frustrated as Harimau Malaya falls to 'beatable' Oman

Harimau Malaya lack spirit and strategy in Oman defeat

ASHWIN KUMAR
ASHWIN KUMAR
27 Mar 2024 08:00pm
Defensive lapses and individual errors doom Harimau Malaya - Photo by Bernama
Defensive lapses and individual errors doom Harimau Malaya - Photo by Bernama
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SHAH ALAM - The recent loss of Harimau Malaya to Oman in the World Cup qualifier match carries with it profound lessons, not just for the team but for fans and observers alike.

The defeat, against an opponent perceived as not particularly formidable, raises questions about the team's strategy, spirit, and overall approach to the game.

From the outset, it was apparent that Harimau Malaya lacked the fighting spirit needed to challenge Oman effectively.

Despite flashes of brilliance, such as Arif Aiman's skillful dribbling, the team struggled to maintain momentum and failed to capitalise on key opportunities.

One of the glaring issues was the absence of a coherent tactical plan.

Instead of adapting to the game and seizing control, Harimau Malaya seemed content to play a slow-paced, possession-based style that ultimately proved ineffective against Oman's defence.

Individual performances also left much to be desired.

Corbin-Ong, for instance, showed defensive prowess but lacked creativity and precision in his crosses.

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Captain Dian Cool's misplaced pass, followed by a lack of effort, epitomised the team's struggles and frustrations.

As the match progressed, Oman appeared increasingly comfortable and composed, capitalising on defensive lapses to secure victory.

Despite a bright start, Harimau Malaya ultimately succumbed to the pressure, conceding goals and struggling to regain momentum.

Looking ahead, Harimau Malaya faces an uphill battle to secure qualification for the World Cup.

Head coach Kim Pan Gon acknowledged the daunting task ahead, stressing the need for a miraculous turnaround.

Yet, amidst disappointment, the resilience of Harimau Malaya fans remains unwavering.

Football is more than just a game for these passionate supporters.

It is ingrained in their identity and culture.

Player ratings:

Syihan Hazmi: 6 - Despite conceding two goals, Syihan had little chance to make saves due to the team's defensive lapses. Harimau Malaya's overall performance made Oman appear stronger than they actually were.

Azam Azmi: 5 - Started well before being forced off due to injury.

Dominic Tan: 4 - Had a steady game without any standout moments.

Faisal Halim: 4 - Struggled to find his rhythm and had an off day.

Stuart Wilkin: 4 - Lacked involvement in midfield and struggled to connect with both the defence and attack.

Darren Lok: 4 - Failed to receive quality service and was largely isolated up front.

Arif Aiman: 7 - Showed flashes of brilliance and remains a promising talent for fans.

Syamer Kutty: 4 - Could have been more impactful with clearer tactical instructions.

Romel Morales: 3 - Despite past successes, Romel's performance in this match raised concerns, reflecting criticisms from previous tournaments.

Corbin-Ong: 4 - Offered little creativity and struggled to adapt his play throughout the game.