Stomachs turned as Malaysia's new-look defence has same old problems
The mistakes we made in conceding the first two goals cannot happen at the international scene
Shortly after the match Ong revealed a few of his players had suffered cramps after lunch, but insisted his defence was to blame for allowing Indonesia to celebrate their international comeback with a convincing win.
Centre-back Fadhli Shas and central midfielder Brendan Gan held their heads in shame after a poor clearance and a turnover respectively lead to Boaz Solossa and Irfan Bachim putting the hosts two goals up after just 11 minutes.
“It was a difficult match ... made even more difficult by our own mistakes as we had ourselves to blame for the first two goals. Those goals put us in a difficult situation to come back,” said Ong in the post-match press conference in Solo.
“I’ve said before that defence is crucial and we had made four changes at the back. We need time to adapt but at the same time the mistakes we made in conceding the first two goals cannot happen at the international scene.
“The Indonesians were hungry and wanted to prove something against Malaysia after a long time without international matches … and they proved to be better than us. We did better in the second-half but couldn’t convert the chances. We have to improve our finishing.”
Responding to a question on the uneasiness of some players, Ong said: “A few players were feeling uncomfortable after lunch and suffered cramps. I have to speak to the team doctor to find out what were the problems.”
The match was Malaysia’s first since Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) quartet – Safiq Rahim, Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak, S. Kunanlan and Amirul Hadi Zainal – abruptly ended their international careers in July.
The Tigers were also without the likes of Izham Tarmizi Roslan, Fazly Mazlan, Shahrom Kalam, Junior Eldstal, Christie Jayaseelan and S. Chanthuru, while second-half substitute Ahmad Hazwan Bakri was not fully fit.
“Honestly, those who retired and some of the injured players are the heartbeat of the team … but I have to think of those available instead of dwelling on some players to reverse their decision not to play.