Coach Duddley Steinwall insists Sri Lanka are ready for the challenge of Mongolia as the sides prepare for their crucial AFC Solidarity Cup Malaysia 2016 Group B clash on Sunday.
The South Asians were on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline with Laos in their opening fixture of the continental competition on Thursday, while Mongolia lost by the same result to Macau.
With the teams pointless going into the Matchday Two encounter at Negeri Stadium, both will be aware that defeat would all but end their semi-final hopes and a win would put them firmly back in contention for a semi-final spot.
“We will need to work more on creating chances against Mongolia,” said Steinwall (pictured). “We also have to train harder for our defence because we know they like to play fast counter-attacks.
“We made many mistakes in our first match against Laos but we are learning from them and we will fix them. Good things can happen during our training sessions.”
Sri Lanka went into the interval all square with their Southeast Asians opponents, but conceded as the hour approached and then again with seven minutes remaining, before Asikur Alawadeen headed home a consolation in stoppage time.
“The training conditions in Kuching are very favourable because we’ve been training in worse conditions back home,” added Steinwall.
“We’re definitely ready for Mongolia and hopefully we’ll be able to win and qualify for the next stage.”
Opponents Mongolia, meanwhile, were left to rue missed chances in their opening Group B fixture with Macau.
Sundorj Janchiv struck the woodwork early on before Toshiaki Imai’s side fell behind inside 15 minutes.
Tuguldur Munkh-Erdene then leveled for the Blue Wolves just before the 30-minute mark but, after dominating much of the second half, Macau’s Nicholas Tarrao notched his double to win the tie 15 minutes from time.
Mongolia will now look to rediscover the form in front of goal that saw them score eight without reply against the Northern Mariana Islands in their last competitive match before this tournament at the EAFF East Asian Cup preliminary round four months ago.
“I will review the Sri Lanka game with Laos and come up with my game plan,” said Imai. “Our players were a bit tired after the first game but they will recover.
“I think against Macau they struggled a bit with confidence so we will spend time focusing on this in training so we will not make the same mistakes again when it comes to finishing chances.
“The players are not so experienced but I believe they can win the game. It will be a decisive point when it comes to which teams make the semi-finals.”