Newly-appointed Malaysian national team boss Nelo Vingada got his tenure off to a difficult start earlier tonight as they succumbed to a dramatic 2-1 defeat against Lebanon in an exciting Asian Cup qualifying tie in Johor Bahru.
Mahali Jasuli’s first half goal gave the hosts a significant boost but two late goals, including a stoppage time winner from Rabih Ataya inspired the away side to a morale-boosting win that further cements their spot on top of Group B.
The late winner broke over 6,000 Malaysian hearts inside the stadium, but Vingada insists that he is proud of his men’s performance and pointed out that even the biggest teams on the planet can be guilty of dropping their focus.
“I’m not happy with the result. Nobody can be happy when the opposition scores two late goals, but I’m happy with the players’ performance. They ran a lot and worked really hard tonight,” he told reporters after the match.
“There were some mistakes here and there. A defeat is a defeat. But I believe we are on our way to becoming a strong team. When the score was 1-1, we missed a lot of chances and Lebanon took advantage by scoring the late winning goal. Hopefully this doesn’t happen in the next game.
“Even great teams like Real Madrid and Bayern Munich lose [their concentration]. There is no special formula to fix this but we have to keep working. We kept losing the ball in transition from defence to midfield. We need to be more organized so we can keep the ball,” he added.
More to come…