By Ooi Kin Fai and Zulhilmi Zainal
Malaysia could only come away with a goalless draw against Thailand in their first leg semi-final AFF Championship match on Saturday, despite having dominated possession and playing at home.
But according to forward Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak, the advantage is still with the Harimau Malaya, when met by Goal at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Monday.
"Those who understand football would see that it wasn't easy," said the Kuala Lumpur player. "Thailand played with a compact defence. But each game will be different, and in Bangkok (the second leg) it will be a different match too. They will have to play a more open game in search of a goal.
"On Saturday they played long balls often. In the second leg they are playing at home, so they need to score, by hook or by crook. And it's when they open up that we need to take our chances.
"But the positive thing is we now have an advantage, in that we did not concede an away goal, which in turn means we don't have that sort of pressure in the away game. And once we score in the second leg, the advantage is going to be magnified. That's why the pressure is with Thailand ahead of the match."
The team captain also explained that the fitness level of his teammates are good, despite having played in six matches within the past month.
"The boys and I are used to the requirements of tournaments such as this one. We'd played in friendly matches, so it's not a problem now.
"Fatigue is minimal, but what needs working on now is our mental conditions and our morale. We'll be facing Thailand in Bangkok, therefore we need to be mentally strong in order to do this," said the 31-year old forward.
The second leg in Bangkok will be played on Wednesday, December 5, 7.00 pm Malaysian time.
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