Malaysian coach Ong Kim Swee fielded his best, risking a burnout for several stars, but the Tigers still failed to provide any spark. Vijhay Vick rounds up the key topics...
Malaysia have a serious problem on their hands – finding a reliable goalscorer. The 0-0 tie against Myanmar was the third time running the Tigers have failed to find the back of the net, though at least this time it was against a stronger opponent than lowly Macau.
Not scoring goals is one thing. Failing to create chances is even more worrying. Prior to changes in the second-half, introducing the likes of S. Chanthuru, Christie Jayaseelan, Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak and young S. Kumaahran, the Malaysians looked dull in their opponents half.
There were attempts to get English-born Darren Lok naturalised in time for the coming Asian Cup qualifying playoff against Timor Leste but that has ground to a halt, and Saturday’s performance tell just why Ong was eager to give untested Lok a chance.
No rest for players
Prior to leaving Malaysia, Ong said those who started in JDT’s AFC Cup round of 16 tie on Wednesday were unlikely to start against Myanmar. Yet six of those players took to the pitch from the off – including a 35-year-old Amri Yahyah.
Perhaps the coaching team assessed the condition of the players but surely some of those JDT players could have been given a break ahead of the all-important two-legged playoff. Amri, Fazly Mazlan, S. Kunanlan and Amirul Hadi could end up playing three matches in eight days (or four in 12 days including the second-leg).