Malaysia won't suffer SEA Games slip up vs. minnows Laos - Kumaahran
Despite booking a semifinals berth at the Southeast (SEA) Asian Games with a perfect record, Malaysia will not take things lightly against Laos on Wednesday night as they bid to finish as Group A champions.
But striker S. Kumaahran warned his teammates of any complacency that may affect their winning momentum.
"We need to work extra hard to finish as group champions, if not we will be in trouble," Kumaahran told ESPN FC.
"Our performance against Myanmar was good, and we need to keep that same spirit against Laos. We cannot afford to take anything lightly against them."
Laos have nothing but pride to play for, having already been eliminated after losses to Singapore (2-0) and Myanmar (3-1). But the minnows will take confidence from their 3-0 win over Brunei on Monday as they seek to upset their red-hot opponents.
After the 3-1 defeat to Malaysia on Monday, Myanmar coach Gerd Zeise complained that his players were complacent having already booked their spot in the last four.
But facing up to minnows Laos, Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee has assured that his team won't suffer a similar slip up.
"There hasn't been any attitude issues with our players, and they have been disciplined so far. We will show up to win," Ong said.
One player the hosts should be cautious of is striker Kongmathilath Phithack, who scored a hat trick against Brunei.
With qualification secured, Ong would most probably use fresh legs against Laos, with attackers Syahmi Safari and Syafiq Ahmad expected to start.
Kumaahran is unlikely to see action due to an ankle injury during the Myanmar win, but he is itching for a return to complete some unfinished business.
"I need to score. It has been a while since I found the net for the national team, and I want a goal in the semifinals," Kumaahran said.
"I have been given a second chance after missing out on the AFC [U23 Championship qualifiers], and I don't want to waste this opportunity."
Malaysia will meet either Vietnam, Thailand or Indonesia, should they finish as group champions.
Nicolas Anil is a former Malay Mail and Goal.com Malaysia editor/writer who appears on BFM Radio as a football analyst. Twitter: @nicolas_anil.