It’s going to be tricky for Malaysia to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2019 AFF Under-22 Championship after losing 0-1 to hosts Cambodia in their opening Group B match on Monday.
The first half of the match, played at the Olympic Stadium in Phnom Penh, ended goalless despite both teams attacking relentlessly.
Ong Kim Swee’s men had a good chance to go ahead in the 31st minute, but Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak failed to connect with a cross from M. Kogileswaran Raj.
Four minutes later it was Cambodia’s turn to fluff their lines when Narong Kakada headed just wide off the Malaysian goalmouth.
A free-kick awarded to Cambodia around the hour mark proved to be the turning point of the match.
Malaysia’s Danial Haqim Draman was adjudged to have fouled Orn Chanpolin and the 20-year-old midfielder was sent off for a second bookable offence.
Sath Rosib then rubbed salt on Malaysia’s wound by scoring from the free-kick, beating goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli.
Malaysia will face Indonesia on Wednesday and Myanmar two days later, while Cambodia will be up against Myanmar next.
Earlier in another Group B match, Myanmar and Indonesia shared the spoils following a 1-1 draw.
Group A comprises Thailand, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Vietnam, and the top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals.