It was time for reflection as the teams spent yesterday’s day off taking stock of their options after the first round of matches in the AFF Suzuki Cup, which shifts gear to a more demanding phase in the next few days.
Vietnam came out of Sunday night all smiles after edging out hosts Myanmar 2-1, with the winning goal coming off captain Le Cong Vinh’s boot late in the game.
With Cambodia’s gallant effort thwarted by Malaysia in a five-goal thriller, coach Lee Tae Hoon’s men face a do-or-die battle against Myanmar when the two sides meet tomorrow.
The clash between the winners of Malaysia and Vietnam holds the key to the semifinal prospects the sides. Neither team would like to see that advantage pass by.
Coach Lee Tae Hoon blamed his players’ lack of focus at critical moments in the game for Sunday’s loss.
“A victory or even a draw would have placed us in a far better position than we are now. Our path has certainly become narrower, but we still can make it if we get our act together against Myanmar and Vietnam in the next matches.”
The coach has also spoken of his wish to see more players moving up with Chan Vathanaka to support him rather than the team leaning too heavily on the Boeung Ket forward to deliver the goods.
Co-hosts Myanmar find themselves in the same predicament as Cambodia after letting Vietnam slip away with all three points.
Meanwhile, defending champions Thailand, buoyed by their 4-2 win over Indonesia on Saturday, take on Singapore, who despite being down to 10 men for the whole of the second half managed to share the spoils with the Philippines.
The Thailand-Singapore game will fire up an old friendly rivalry between their coaches Kiatisuk Senamuang and V Sundramoorthy, who often met on the pitch during their playing careers in the 1990s.
After failing to capitalise on Singapore’s numerical disadvantage, the Philippines will be eager to pick up the full set of points against Indonesia.