Performance over result sought by OKS in South Korea preparations

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A late equaliser meant that Malaysia were held to a 1-1 draw against Mokpo City FC in the first of three friendly matches in South Korea.

The starting XI that Ong went with can be looked at as closest as it could be to his strongest XI. Adib Zainuddin was replaced by Syazwan Zaipool but otherwise the regulars like Adam Nor Azlin, Irfan Zakaria, Syamer Kutty Abba, Nor Azam Azih and Safawi Rasid all started.

It was Johor Darul Ta'zim's Syamer who opened the scoring in the 39th minute and Malaysia held their ground until late in the second half, took the win away from Malaysia.

"After 5 days in Mokpo, the players are more comfortable especially with regards to the weather. Even though we drew against Mokpo, the players played with a good attitude, wasnt affected by the weather and the game was a good challenge which will help us in China."

"While we are playing against club sides, the result isn't what we're looking for. These clubs have their qualities and the games will give us a chance to assess on the players. The result doesn't impact me, it's more on the performance and the chance to rectify what we are lacking," said Ong after the match.

Ong made a raft of changes in the 65th minute when he put in Hadi Fayyahd for Jafri Chew, Mohd Raphi for Adam Nor, R. Kogileswaran for Safawi, Akhyar Rashid for N. Thanabalan and Nik Akif for Nor Azam.

The inability of the incoming players to come to grips with the pace and condition of the match was what allowed Mokpo to find their equaliser and that is a lesson that Ong is taking into heart.

"The equaliser came after I changed five players. The players that came in were caught napping and this is a good lesson for them to understand that ultimate focus is needed at any time and at any situation."

"It's still to early to call as to the final squad as I still have two more friendly matches to go. The players need more time and I need to be fair to everyone. Every player will get a chance to prove whether they are worthy of a place in China," added Ong.

Malaysia's next matches are against Honam University (Dec 22) and Jeonju Citizen (Dec 28) before Ong has to cut three more players from his squad prior to their departure to China for the AFC U23 Championship.

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