SHAH ALAM: The Harimau Malaya squad made a positive headway in the campaign for the World Cup/2019 Asian Cup by recording a narrow defeat of 1-2 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at the Shah Alam stadium, last night.
Having the match behind closed doors after being fined by the International Football Federation following crowd trouble in the World Cup Group A qualifying match against Saudi Arabia on Sept 8, Malaysia showed a fighting performance after the 0-6 defeat against Palestine in Jordan, on Thursday.
The 171st place in the world ranking squad under interim coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee had the chance to take the lead as early as the 16th minute, but Mohamad Aidil Zafuan’s attempt soared into the upper right corner of the UAE’s goal post.
Four minutes later the UAE took the lead through a strike from outside the penalty box into the right corner of the net by Omar Abdulrahman beating the Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Izham Tarmizi.
There was a little tense in added time of the first half when Habib Al-Fardan fouled Matthiew Davies resulting for pushing among the Malaysian and the UAE players.
Habib was shown a yellow card by Referee Masaaki Toma from Japan and the score remained at 1-0 till half time.
Ahmed Khalil doubled the team under coach Mohd Ali lead shortly into the second half in the 51st minute.
Harimau Malaya closed the gap when newly wed Baddrol Bakhtiar knocked in a header off a free-kick from skipper Safiq Rahim in the 58th minute.
Malaysia team which had failed to qualify to the next round of the 2018 World Cup qualifying matches will pay a visit to Saudi Arabia in March next year to complete the qualification campaign schedule but still have a chance to book the 2019 Asian Cup slot.
In other Group A action, Saudi Arabia hammered East Timor 10-0. – BERNAMA