AFF Cup 2010: Robson rues missed opportunities (5/12/2010)

JAKARTA: Thailand coach Bryan Robson was left to lament another poor display of finishing by his side on Saturday as the three-time champions failed to turn their territorial domination into goals in a 0-0 stalemate with Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Despite enjoying the lion's share of possession in the Group A clash at the Gelora Bungkarno Stadium, the Thais were unable to break down a Malaysian defence that had conceded five goals against Indonesia just three days earlier.

It has become a familiar story for Robson, whose team have failed to hit their target on a regular basis during his reign as Thailand coach.

"It's something that I'm trying to get used to as Thailand coach. Once again, we completely dominated possesion and we created some great opportunities but we wasted them," said the Englishman.

"I think that some of the passing movement today was very good, especially in the first half. We got around the back of their defence on many occasions but we just wasted our chances.

"Our final pass and final finish has been frustrating. We've done enough to win both games here but if you miss your chances, you don't win the game."

The draw was Thailand's second in Group A and leaves them needing to win their final match against hosts Indonesia on Tuesday to ensure their progression to the semi-finals.

"We would have liked to have won this game and moved one step closer to the semi-finals. But now we are going to have to do it the hard way. We have to beat Indonesia here which is a very tough task.

"But I'm sure we can give them a tough game and I still feel that we have a chance to reach the semi-finals."

For Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal, the draw was a welcome result after his side had been battered 5-1 by Indonesia in their opener.

"We knew that Thailand would play their best game tonight and we knew it would be a difficult task to get something from the match because they have some very good individual players," he said. "They put a lot of pressure on us and could have killed us in the first half because they kept possession well and were passing the ball around very nicely.

"But I must give credit to my team. They defended well and in the second half, they came out with more energy and created more chances. It was a close game and whoever would have scored then would have gone on the win the game."

For Rajagobal, the key factor in the result was the cutting out of the defensive errors that had plagued his team against Indonesia.

"I have tried to motivate my players in the last couple of days and to drive home the point that they have to be tight and not give away the sort of chances that we did against Indonesia.

"We knew we could play better and I told them not to repeat the simple, silly mistakes. They showed more energy today and as the game went on and the game remained scoreless, they gained in confidence. I have to pay credit to them for a good performance."