Safawi eyes good showing in AFF Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: Forward Safawi Rasid is confident Harimau Malaya will regain their glory days soon following the promising showing at the King's Cup in Chiang Mai.

World No 148 Malaysia lost 3-0 on penalties to 109th-ranked Tajikistan after a 0-0 draw in regulation time in the final at the Chiang Mai Stadium yesterday.

Kim Pan Gon's side defeated world No 111 Thailand 5-3 on penalties after a 0-0 draw to reach the final.

Safawi, who missed one of the three penalties against Tajikistan, said the players have adapted to Pan Gon's tactics and formations.

"We are now able to adapt to a variety of formations. It is a good thing if we have injuries. A good sign ahead of next year's Asian Cup," said Safawi, one of three co-captains of the national team, after the match.

"We are not too disappointed by the outcome in the final. We are capable of many good things and are proud of what we showed here.

"World No 109 Tajikistan dominated, but we had three or four chances to win the match. However, we had no luck.

"We tried two or three different formations during the match and adapted well to the tactics.

"I believe we can go far, and the next target is the AFF Cup in December."

Safawi, who plays for Johor Darul Ta'zim, stepped up to take Malaysia's third penalty. However, Tajikistan goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov blocked his shot.

Rustam Soirov struck the winning penalty for Tajikistan for the title.

"I am not too upset with my penalty miss. The draws against Thailand and Tajikistan will earn the team valuable ranking points.

"The penalty takers were decided before the final. Dion Cools and Nazmi Faiz Mansor could not score from the spot, and I was the third player for the penalty.

"Penalties are unpredictable. However, we have achieved our objective by earning Fifa points from both matches," Safawi added.

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