Having turned in a much-improved showing in their second match, Laos are still confident of making a push to book a semifinal spot, despite having fallen to a 3-1 defeat in Malaysia.

The visiting team stunned the vocal home crowd as Phithack Kongmathilath handed Laos a seventh minute lead, only for two late goals from Norshahrul Idlan to see Malaysia grab a 3-1 win.

That result followed a 3-0 home defeat at the hands of Vietnam in their opening match but midfielder Soukaphone Vongchiengkham insists the team still has belief that they can push for a spot in the knockout stages.

“We have two matches still to play so our target is clear – we want six points to make sure that we qualify for the semifinals and we believe that’s still possible.”

The star creative talent, often referred to as the ‘Lao Messi,’ also felt that his nation had shown strong improvement from their first match and warned that they’re far from finished.

“We’re aiming to improve in every match and we did that from the first match to this one and now we must do it again.”

That’s no easy task given that for many of the players this is their maiden AFF Suzuki Cup campaign – and that’s just one of the obstacles that they must overcome.

“We worked so hard but we lost because Malaysia were too strong and then we lost some possession but I’m sure we'll improve in the next match

“Malaysia also has many professional players but in the Laos team there’s not so many but next time we can do better and I’m sure of that.”