Zaquan plays down FT celebrations around Chatchai


Even though to the players and the watching fans whether at the stadium or in front of the television it felt like a win, ultimately it was only a draw achieved against Thailand in the second leg of the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup at Rajamangala Stadium.

The 2-2 draw was however sufficient to take Malaysia through to the final to face Vietnam and that means more work to be done. Team captain, Zaquan Adha is under no illusion of the enormous task that still remains for the team in the two-legged meeting against the team they have lost once before in the competition.

Videos of the Malaysian players celebrating on the pitch and dressing room has gone viral with the fans rightly lapping up all the celebrations. Even Zaquan did not try to stop the team doing so in the dressing room but as he wants his team mate to get it out of their system prior to hard work ahead.

Adisak, Malaysia, 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup

"We celebrate not because we were champions but it was an amazing success that we achieved. But that does not mean we are champions. There are still work to be done for the final. We celebrated the one night against Thailand and then it's back to work."

"For me, every time that Thailand scored, I did not feel that we will lose. Honestly, we know that it will be difficult in Thailand and they will do everything to find the goals. What was important was how we found our way back and to get our goals. It's an amazing spirit that we have now," Zaquan told Goal.

The lead up to the crunch match in Bangkok was preceeded by some war of words between the two camps that was instigated by Thailand goalkeeper Chatchai Budprom in his pre-match press conference when he stoke the fires in Malaysian bellies.

Malaysian team officials claimed that Chatchai came over near the team bench to taunt the team after Thailand were awarded a last minute penalty. The 31-year-old Bangkok Glass player also laid down on the ground while awaiting Adisak Kraisorn to take his penalty.

Malaysia, 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup

After the final whistle, a group of Malaysian substitute ran onto the pitch and circled Chatchai in celebration of qualification to the final. To his credit, the Thai goalkeeper took it all in his stride and had Zaquan's admiration for doing so.

"I told the players before the game that they were the ones under pressure and that is why they came out with such statements. We have to take the positives, keep our focus and mental strong, let them say what they want." 

"I was confident and I know that we are strong and in the second leg, you can see our response. In any case, in football that is how you try play the psychological game. After the game, he still shook hands with us," added Zaquan

 

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