NAYPYITAW - National Under-23 goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi Roslan reckons that beating Singapore in the SEA Games bronze medal playoff would lessen the blow of failing to defend the gold medal.
Malaysia will take on their bitter rivals at the Zeyar Thiri Stadium in Naypyitaw today after being knocked out of the semi-finals by Indonesia on Thursday.
Singapore also lost out on the final after being beaten by Thailand on Thursday.
Malaysia and Singapore share an intense rivalry and the clash between the teams in this and the last edition of the SEA Games ended in a stalemate.
Last week, Malaysia were forced to stage a comeback with a 90th minute equaliser to hold Singapore to a 1-1 draw after the Lions went ahead in the first-half of their Group A match.
The 22-year-old Izham said both teams will be playing for pride after failing to advance to the final and it will be a tough match.
“Winning the bronze will be the right tonic for us after failing to win the gold medal,” said Izham yesterday.
“The players are very disappointed with the defeat to Indonesia and winning the bronze medal could return the joy to the team and our supporters.”
Izham said his side need to be wary of Singapore’s set-pieces and they must play with a high defensive line.
“We can’t afford to give away a free-kick near our area ... they scored from it in our last game,” said the Terengganu-born player.
“Singapore are a very good when it comes to set-pieces and defending their lead, but I believe we are smarter after playing against them in the group stage.”