Bangkok: Malaysia skipper Zaquan Adha admits his team were fired up by Thailand goalkeeper Chatchai Budprom’s pre-match claim that Malaysia would have a ‘nightmare’ at the Rajamangala Stadium in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final, second leg on Wednesday. 

With a place in the final all to play for after a goalless first leg in Kuala Lumpur, there was already plenty of motivation for Tan Cheng Hoe’s side. But Chatchai’s attempt to intimidate the visiting team backfired in spectacular style as the Malaysians came from behind twice to seal a 2-2 draw and progress on away goals. 

“For me, the comments from the goalkeeper made me win,” said Zaquan. “What they want to say is up to them but our team just focused and we won for the goalkeeper.” 

It could have turned out differently if Adisak Kraisorn had scored with a penalty kick in added time but Malaysia survived the late scare to book a place in the final.

Zaquan knows that it will be a tough task for the Malaysians to lift their first AFF Suzuki Cup since 2010 but he is confident that with hard work before Tuesday’s first leg at home, they will give themselves a fighting chance.

“For me, it’s not easy for us to play in Bangkok, so this game was amazing,” said Zaquan. “In football, anything can happen and our players played so hard.

“It’s not over yet. We are in the final but it’s not easy to become a champion so we must work harder after this.”