It was another lacklustre display from Malaysia after they were handed a rude awakening by minnows Mongolia at Bukit Jalil National Stadium. Tan Cheng Hoe's first match as the head coach of the national team would end up not being a fond one to remember by as his team failed to live up to their favourites billing in the tie.
On an expectant night, the Malayan Ultras failed to raise their game to the required level as the plucky Mongolian side were able to find two leveling goals. Defensive calamities and the lack of concentration continues to besiege the Malaysian side who twice held the lead but just could not find the defensive solidarity to deny the away side. Tan Cheng Hoe
There was a surprise from the start when La'Vere Corbin-Ong wasn't even on the team sheet as the out-of-form Fazly Mazlan took to the field instead. Elsewhere the line-up was as expected with debuts being given to the duo of Haziq Nadzli and Ignacio 'Natxo' Insa.
The first half pretty much went the way of Malaysia, who controlled majority of the ball possession as Mongolia decided to sit off the home side. Hazwan Bakri had a stinging effort in the 13th minute but was palmed away by Enkhtaivan Munkh-Erdene.
Insa was the next one to get a presentable chance but skewed his shot wide from inside the penalty box before the breakthrough finally came just a minute after the half hour mark.
Safawi Rasid's corner kick was flicked on by Hazwan, but needed Turbat Daginaa's extra touch to turn the ball past him own keeper for Malaysia to take the lead.
Inexplicably, Mongolia somehow managed to get themselves back on level pegging going into half time, when Purevdorj Enkhbileg benefited from a Fadhli slip to lift the ball over the advancing Haziq to pull Mongolia level at 1-1.
Tan made an immediate change after half time, bringing on Akhyar Rashid for the ineffective Mahali Jasuli. And the Kedah player provided the impact his coach wanted, becoming the livewire of the team.
Having already missed a chance in the 51st minute, Akhyar wasn't to be denied in the 65th minute, cutting in from the left hand side before seeing his shot taking a wicked deflection to sail into the net for Malaysia to lead for the second time in the match.
However the excitement from the home fans would be tempered just seven minutes later when Gankhuyag Serodyanjiv caught Haziq napping at his near post, converting superbly from a direct free kick to make the score 2-2.
Malaysia would have chances late on to secure a dramatic winner but Fadhli saw his header bounced back out against the post in the 78th minute and substitute Wan Zack Haikal's thunderous volley was just too straight at the Mongolian keeper.
That was all Malaysia could muster and in the end, had to settle for a disappointing home draw against a team they were expected to beat.