Malaysia captain Adib wants focus in SEA Games semifinal vs. Indonesia
Despite storming through to a Southeast (SEA) Asian Games semifinal against Indonesia with a perfect record, Malaysia captain Adib Zainuddin is concerned that his defence is still leaking goals through mistakes of their own.
Malaysia finished as Group A champions, with four wins in four games, including an impressive 3-1 victory over in-form Myanmar. But they were again unable to keep a clean sheet in the 3-1 win over Laos on Wednesday.
The hosts could not do anything about Phanthavong Thanin's gem of a free kick. However, Adib was mindful of lapses in defence in previous games.
"It is a worry that we are still conceding goals until now. Our opponents would only get tougher, so we have to be more focused and disciplined after this," Adib told ESPN FC.
Malaysia conceded at critical times in the 2-1 victories over Brunei and Singapore, having to come from behind against their Causeway rivals.
Before the Laos free kick, all of the other goals were the result of their own mistakes.
Overall, Malaysia have been in solid form against all their opponents, with 10 goals scored. Malaysia coach Ong Kim Swee has also used all 20 players in the group stage to underline his faith in every member of the squad.
"Besides winning all our games, everyone has seen game time so far. All of us have qualities in our own right, which has got the belief of the coach to play us all," Ong said.
Malaysia will face the dangerous Indonesians in Saturday's semifinals on Saturday after the Merah Putih overcame Cambodia 2-0 on Thursday. Defending champions Thailand clinched top spot in Group B after thrashing Vietnam 3-0.
Adib was delighted to score his maiden goal for Malaysia against Laos.
"We are on the right path to gold, but the job is far from done as we must win another two matches. But we can take heart to push forward with this winning momentum until the final," Adib said.
Malaysia won football gold in 2011 with Ong guiding the side to victory over Indonesia at the cavernous Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
The semifinal at Shah Alam should be a high-octane spectacle as Malaysia face their familiar rivals, with a rich history between the sides.
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.