Cheng Hoe hails team's fighting spirit in 2-1 win over Thailand

Last update: 15/11/2019

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 15  -- The true fighting spirit and never die attitude are the main contributors behind the Harimau Malaya’s 2-1 victory over Thailand in the Group G of the 2022 World Cup / 2023 Asia Cup qualifier match last night, said national team head coach Tan Cheng Hoe. 

Cheng Hoe also praised his charges for delivering one of their best outing for this year against to the War Elephants squad, ranked world number 109 in the world at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium, last night. 

The Harimau Malaya squad, after being stunned by Thai’s Chanathip Songkrasin seventh minute goal, made an impressive comeback through goals scored by Brendan Gan in the 26th minute and Mohamadou Sumareh in the 56th minute.

It was Cheng Hoe’s second win in the Group G campaign, after edging Indonesia 3-2 in the opening match, followed by narrow defeats against United Arab Emirates (UAE) (1-2) and Vietnam (1-0).

“All the players were fantastic, it was not easy as we know that Thailand fielded their strong team. But our players showed fighting spirit and never die attitude, that is most important thing for us to gain a well deserved three points.

“Even though we conceded an early goal, all players showed united front and formidable fighting spirit to reach the turning point with Brendan’s goal.

“Our journey in the qualifying round is only halfway through as we have four more matches to play. Hence we will use this win (against Thailand) as our motivation to create more positive results in our next matches,” he said in the post-match press conference, last night.

Apart from Gan, Cheng Hoe also praised young midfielder, Mohamed Syamer Kutty Abba, 22, for displaying commendable performance in the game after given chance to prove his worth. 

Meanwhile, Thailand coach Akira Nishino blamed his charges’ lack of determination to net the second goal as the reason for the defeat against Malaysia, currently ranked 158th in the International Football Federation (FIFA) countries. 

“We know that this is a tough group, so we will focus on our recovery and determined to get better in next match,” the Japanese coach said. 

Vietnam now tops the group with 10 points after four matches, followed by Thailand (seven points), UAE (six), Malaysia (six) and Indonesia, which has yet to collect any point.