Malaysia off to flying AFC U-23 qualification start

Oleh Staff Writer 22 Mac 2019 573
Malaysia off to flying AFC U-23 qualification start
Malaysia kicked off their 2020 AFC U-23 Championship qualifying campaign with a 3-0 win over the Philippines at the Shah Alam Stadium on Friday.

Ong Kim Swee's side were in full control throughout the match, with 11 shots on target compared to their opponents' two and having 59% of ball possession.

Akhyar Rashid gave the home side a perfect start in the Group J encounter with a third-minute strike after being set up by marauding right-back Syahmi Safari.

The Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) winger was on the scoresheet again on the half-hour mark with an improvised backheel goal to give the young Tigers a 2-0 lead.

Poor finishing deprived Malaysia of a bigger lead, with Fagiano Okayama forward Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak being the chief culprit by spurning several clear-cut goal-scoring chances.

His second-half replacement, Faisal Halim, also hit the crossbar from close range after escaping his marker in the 72nd minute.

However, Faisal atoned for his earlier miss with a 82nd-minute goal to seal the game, despite the Philippines slamming the Pahang youngster's lack of fair play conduct for failing to return the ball to them.

With the win, Malaysia joined group rivals China, who thrashed Laos 5-0 in an earlier match, in recording a winning start.

Malaysia will next face Laos on Sunday in a bid to improve their group record.

Only 11 group winners and five best second-placed teams will qualify for next year's AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand.

Tentang Penulis

Staff Writer