Five things we learned from Malaysia’s defeat to Lebanon

Malaysia suffered a 2-1 loss to Lebanon in the Asian Cup qualifiers after conceding two late goals at Larkin Stadium on Tuesday. Vijhay Vick lists five observations from the tie, including the strange decision to play defender Afif Amiruddin in central midfield...

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Still early days

So new Harimau Malaysa coach Nelo Vingada started his tenure with a loss, a painful one too after he saw the points slipping away in the final minutes of the match.

There were instances during the match that made you wonder what Vingada thinking, but it’s really still very early days into his tenure in Malaysia.

Problems highlighted after the match are those that many are already familiar with. The lack of concentration has cost Malaysia in the past. Remember how Thailand carved open the Malaysians in the final 20 minutes of the AFF Suzuki Cup final?

A lack of fitness was identified as among the reasons for losing concentration, something Vingada’s predecessors have all lamented and used as grounds for longer national camps. No surprise that Vingada says the same but he will have to work a way around it to be successful.

Still early days yet for Malaysia

The curious case of Mahali

Mahali scored Malaysia’s only goal of the night and showed great anticipation and relentlessness in doing so.

Once a defender, Mahali showed a lot of courage to take on players from a right-wing position and he even got the better of opponents despite never looking elegant on the ball.

His work-rate and physical nature may have got him the nod but truth be told, Mahali is far from Malaysia’s best option and him starting was a surprise because he offered little pace, is far from a creative player and there were better wingers on the bench.

Azamuddin Akil could have provided the same aggression and at the same time used his pace against defenders. S. Chanthuru is lightning fast but his lack in physique may have cost him, though Vingada has previously said he loves to have fast wingers around.

Mahali scored a goal but his selection was a puzzle