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By Ahmad Nazrin Syahmi Mohamad Arif
KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 -- National squad head coach Tan Cheng Hoe needs to reconsider his team's game system used in the 0-4 loss to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the all-important mission to win against Vietnam on Friday, according to Malaysian football legend Khalid Ali .
He made the call after the system used by Cheng Hoe in the match at the Zabeel Stadium in Dubai, last Saturday, was seen to place more emphasis on defensive play and just wait for the opportunity to counter -attack.
Khalid said the defensive game not only limited the real contribution and ability of the national players, but also required them to be at their best fitness level to move consistently until the final whistle.
He said based on the match against the UAE on that day, the Harimau Malaya did not seem to be able to maintain fitness when entering the last 30 minutes of the match which saw the UAE take advantage of the opportunity to dominate and then score goals.
"The system used against the UAE is not suitable anymore and I hope Cheng Hoe can switch to a system that is more focused on attacking," he told Bernama, today.
"The national squad also need to play 'zonal marking' which means there is not much movement done by the players so as to allow them to remain in their respective positions when defending or attacking. I think it will be more pleasant for the players to play," he said.
Zonal marking means a defensive system where each player is more responsible for defending their respective zones on the field than the opponent's movements.
He said the change in the game system would probably see the effectiveness of the two wingers, Muhammad Safawi Rasid and Mohamadou Sumareh, in their respective positions after the involvement of the two players did not give much impact in the game against the UAE.
"After losing to the UAE, with all the criticisms and comments from netizens, the national squad will definitely be more under pressure than Vietnam. We can't lose this match because the situation to qualify becomes more difficult," added Khalid.
Following the defeat to the UAE, Malaysia will continue the remainder of the second round matches of Group G of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers against Vietnam at the Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai before facing Thailand on June 15, which will be their final match .
The national squad have no choice but to record victories over Vietnam and Thailand in the mission to finish the group stage in the top two to brighten their chances of automatically qualifying for the finals of the 2023 Asian Cup.
After six matches, Vietnam now lead the group with 14 points, followed by the UAE (12 points), Thailand (nine points), Malaysia fourth (also nine points) and Indonesia at the bottom with just one point.
Based on the record, the national squad under Cheng Hoe have only recorded one draw and lost three times in their last four matches against Vietnam with Malaysia losing 0-1 in the qualifying campaign group action in Hanoi in October 2019.
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