The Malaysian national football team head coach Tan Cheng Hoe praised the brilliance of national forward Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad, who fired a hat-trick to help Malaysia defeat Sri Lanka 6-0 in a Tier 1 international friendly at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on Saturday night.
Tan (photo) hopes the Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) striker will be able to maintain his performance when the Harimau Malaya take on Vietnam in the Group G third match of the second round of the World Cup 2022/Asian Cup 2023 qualifiers at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on Oct 10.
"Syafiq has played in three to four matches and his game has improved in every match. I hope he can maintain his consistency,” the coach said after the match.
In the match, Syafiq showed fine finishing touches by scoring in the ninth, 76th and 89th minutes.
The other three goals were netted by Shahrul Mohd Saad in the 14th minute, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha (17th) and Muhd Akhyar Abdul Rashid (51st).
Tan also confirmed that three players would not be fielded against Vietnam following injuries - midfielder Nor Azam Abdul Azih, winger J Partiban and forward Muhd Shahrel Fikri Md Fauzi.
He, however, is confident that their absence will be compensated by a number of other players who also had a good outing against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan head coach Nizam Packeer Ali said the big defeat would be the best learning lesson for his players before facing a daunting task against South Korea in their third Group H match of the qualifiers on Oct 10.
"Malaysia played very well and the pressure they gave to us throughout the match would be good practice for us before facing South Korea. We had to face the fact that Malaysia is the better side. Our players did well against Malaysia, but the finishing was very poor," he asserted.