Malaysia draws 1-1 against Myanmar

The national U-22 men’s football team’s quest for gold looked shaky as Ong’s players seemed to lack chemistry


MANILA • Malaysia started its mission towards the most desired gold medal of the SEA Games with a 1-1 draw against Myanmar in the Group A opening match at the Rizal Memorial Stadium earlier yesterday.

Playing on a synthetic pitch, the national Under-22 (U-22) men’s football team’s quest for gold looked shaky as Datuk Ong Kim Swee’s players seemed to lack chemistry.

The absence of star player, Muhammad Safawi Rasid, and the highly-anticipated Wan Kuzain Wan Kamal had opened the way for U-18 sensations, Luqman Hakim Shamsudin and Muhammad Umar Hakeem Suhar Rezwan, into the first eleven.

Myanmar drew first blood when Kyaw Soe Moe headed in skipper Hlaing Bo Bo’s corner in the 13th minute.

Malaysia, however, managed to equalise when Muhammad Akhyar Abdul Rashid wrested the ball from Myanmar’s defender and crossed inside the box for Japan-based Muhammad Hadi Fayyadh Abdul Razak to head into the net in the 24th minute.

The boys then had a good opportunity to take the lead as Hadi Fayyadh received Muhammad Daniel Amier Norhisyam’s free kick, but his header hit the crossbar. The well-experienced Ong, who is managing the national team for a fifth consecutive time since 2011, replaced Luqman with Mohamad Faisal Abdul Halim, while Umar’s place was taken by J Dinesh. Alas, the boys were unable to change the score at the final whistle.

Next, Malaysia will face host nation, the Philippines, on Nov 29 at 8pm, followed by Timor-Leste on Dec 2 and Cambodia on Dec 4, at the same venue.

Group B comprises defending champions Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore and Brunei. Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the semifinals.