Malaysia coach K. Rajagobal has called on his players to keep believing they can still qualify for the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.
Despite putting up a spirited display, Harimau Malaya fell to a 1-0 defeat at home to Qatar on Tuesday, courtesy of a close-range strike from Abdulkarim Al Ali in the 65th minute.
The defeat means Malaysia can no longer qualify automatically as one of the top two sides in Group D, but they remain in the running to advance as the best third-placed side.
And although they will face plenty of competition from the other teams, currently Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Hong Kong, Rajagobal wants his charges to keep the faith and focus on doing what they can in their final match against Yemen.
“We came into the match with a positive mindset and I believe we could have won today [Tuesday],” he said on the AFC’s official website.
“Looking at the whole situation, I thought we could have come [away] with a draw but this is football. We have to accept the result.
“Now we have to forget about this result and focus on our last encounter against Yemen. We should not put our heads down as long as there is a chance to qualify.
“Whether by mathematical calculation or luck, we should try our best to swing the tide in our favour.”
Malaysia and Singapore are the only Southeast Asian sides that still have a chance of progressing from the qualifiers, after Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam were all eliminated on Tuesday.