Sunday, 9 December 2012
Less pressure on Malaysia now: Subahan
Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia team manager Subahan Kamal believes that the heavy pressure has been lifted off his side after their win against Indonesia and that they will have little to lose when they face favourites Thailand in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup.
The Harimau Malaya face a stiff test against the only team with an unbeaten record in this year’s tournament but Subahan insisted that the pressure that they will face in the first leg at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Sunday is nothing like what they felt before their must-win showdown against the Indonesians last weekend.
“I think that there was more pressure on us when we played during the group stage especially after we lost 3-0 to Singapore,” said the Malaysian manager. “There was amazing pressure when we played against Indonesia but the team did well and rose to the occasion and we can be happy that we reached the semi-finals.
“Now the situation is different because Thailand are the favourites and we are the underdogs but we have nothing to lose. The players can go out and play well and enjoy themselves and I am optimistic that we can get a good result to take to the second leg in Bangkok.”
Malaysia have not managed a victory against the Thais in the competition since 2004 when they won 2-1 at Bukit Jalil to send Thailand crashing out at the group stage for the first time. However, the Thais gained revenge with a 1-0 win in Bangkok in 2007 and a 3-0 victory in Phuket in 2008 before a goalless draw in Jakarta two years ago.
Subahan rates the current Thai side highly but he believes that they are by no means unbeatable.
“This match is like a final for us because Thailand are the best team in the tournament. But we are confident and I believe that if we play well, we can get a good result,” he said.
The Tigers will have a capacity crowd behind them at Bukit Jalil but Subahan warned his players that they cannot afford to lose their focus against the dangerous Thais.
“I’m happy that the team is in the semi-finals and that we will have a chance to play in front of 90,000 fans tomorrow but we must still play well and try to get a result for our fans,” said the manager.
“We cannot afford to be complacent and take the occasion lightly because otherwise playing in front of 90,000 fans can have the opposite effect if we do not perform well.”