Malaysia coach wants to avoid rookie mistakes against Vietnam

By Hieu Luong   April 19, 2024 | 08:06 pm PT
Malaysia coach Juan Garrido believes that the Saturday match against Vietnam in the second round of Group D will be difficult and expects his players to remain focus to keep their hope alive in the AFC U23 Asian Cup.

Having lost 0-2 to Uzbekistan in the opening match, Malaysia now need at least one point against Vietnam to have any hope of advancing. Coach Garrido urged his players to forget about the loss and aim for a better result against the fellow Southeast Asian opponents.

"I know it will not be easy to beat Vietnam, but we always improve with each game," Garrido told Malaysian newspaper Hmetro. "It is important that we stop making rookie mistakes that create chances for our opponents."

HLV Juan Garrido chỉ đạo ở trận Malaysia thua Uzbekistan 0-2 hôm 17/4, ở vòng bảng U23 châu Á 2024. Ảnh: AFC

Coach Juan Garrido in Malaysia's 0-2 loss to Uzbekistan at U23 Asian Cup group stage on April 17, 2024. Photo by AFC

One of the mistakes in question led to a penalty for Uzbekistan and helped them break the deadlock in the 11th minute of the two sides’ clash in the Group D opener. Malaysia had previously conceded three other penalties that had resulted in 1-2 and 0-1 losses to China and Qatar respectively in closed-door friendlies before the tournament.

"The reason might be that we overcrowded the penalty area with our defense," said the Spanish coach.

Another issue Garrido needs to address is the lack of cohesion in Malaysia’s attack, as they only managed two shots off target in the defeat against Uzbekistan. Against a stronger opponent, Malaysia had 41% ball possession but mainly in their own half.

"Our attacking approach must be more aggressive if we want to score goals. Players need to improve their ability to penetrate the opponent's defense," said Garrido.

Highlights in Malaysia's 0-2 loss to Uzbekistan at U23 Asian Cup group stage on April 17, 2024.

Malaysia face Vietnam at the Khalifa International Stadium on Saturday night. If they lose, the Southeast Asian "Tigers" will be eliminated due to inferior head-to-head records against Uzbekistan and Vietnam.

In their most recent encounter at the 32nd SEA Games group stage, Malaysia lost 1-2 to Vietnam. Before that, they lost 1-4 to Vietnam in the semifinals of the 2023 U23 AFF Cup, 0-2 in the group stage of the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup, and 0-1 in the semifinals of the 31st SEA Games.

After witnessing the home team’s performance, Malaysian media regarded the Football Association of Malaysia's (FAM) goal of qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics as "illusory." However, FAM Vice President Datuk Wira Yusoff Mahadi said it is a way to motivate the players. "But we have to admit that none of Malaysia's opponents are weak," he added.

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