KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 ― A spirited Malaysia fought hard but the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had the extra edge as Harimau Malaya went down 1-2 in the Group G match of the 2022 World Cup/2023 Asian Cup Second Qualifying Round at the National Stadium Bukit Jalil, tonight.
Forward Ali Ahmed Mabkhout was UAE's hero of the night following his double strike in the 43rd and 75th minutes to inspire the Al-Abyad’s (The White) away comeback.
Muhammad Syafiq Ahmad shocked the UAE with an opening goal for Malaysia after just 36 seconds when he headed in Matthew Davies’s inch perfect cross to give Malaysia a perfect start.
Malaysia who recorded a 3-2 win against its regional rivals Indonesia in Jakarta last Thursday could have led Bert Van Marwijk’s side by 3-0 inside 25 minutes of play.
However, Muhammad Syafiq’s effort in the 14th minute after Matthew strung a low cross was blocked by the opponent while an unmarked Norshahrul Idlan Talaha failed to convert inside the penalty box in the 24th minute.
Elsewhere in another Group G match tonight, Thailand trashed Indonesia 3-0 at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.
Malaysia and UAE, with three points, now trail Thailand by one point while Vietnam is in fourth place with one point. Indonesia remain pointless at the bottom. ― Bernama