Malaysia head coach Ong Kim Swee lamented his team’s defending following a 3-2 victory over Cambodia in their first match at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016.
Harimau Malaysia were twice beaten by Cambodian striker Chan Vathanaka, but a brace from 35-year-old Amri Yahyah in the second-half helped them claw back to earn full points at Thuwanna Stadium in Yangon.
“It was a hard-fought game as I expected. Most importantly we came back strongly after conceding two silly goals,” Ong said after the match, during which he also took the time to criticise referee Abdul Baqi Yaqoob for two questionable first half calls.
“Overall both teams struggled in the weather and struggled to maintain their performance, [but] I believe we will get better in the following games.”
Meanwhile, Cambodia manager Lee Tae Hoon praised his players for their quality, but admitted that they still have much improvement ahead of them if they are to compete with their more established neighbors.
“It was important that our players got some experience from this game,” Lee said after the match. “We don’t have much experience playing in the final rounds and that showed on some of our players today.
“Our players have improved in terms of quality but we lack the winning mentality and spirit.”
Both sides must now look ahead to preparations for their next matches on Wednesday; Malaysia are set to play Vietnam, who won their opener 2-1 against plucky hosts Myanmar who will take on Cambodia.