Malaysia 0-0 Phlippines : Tigers held to a goalless draw against a feisty Azkals
Malaysia failed to convert their chances in front of goal against a physical Philippines side who proved more than worthy opponents
By Nicolas Anil
The Azkals almost took the lead two minutes into the game when Azmi Muslim gave away possession cheaply, however goalkeeper Farizal Marlias came into his rescue by making a last ditch tackle to deny striker Angel Guirado who was clean through on goal.
Malaysia gradually found their footing and their first threat came from the left flank through S. Kunalan who squared for Safee Sali, only for the striker to direct his shot straight into Azkals goalkeeper Robert James.
Philippines grew stronger into the match and Bundesliga striker Denis Wolf shot inches wide with Farizal seemingly beaten.
But the Tigers ended the first half on a positive note and almost took the lead through Shahurain Abu Samah, only to be denied by the post after the winger brilliantly won possession from Paul Mulders.
Rookie Amiridzwan came on for Fadli Shas in the second half as Malaysia looked to take the initiative against the Philippines. Safiq Rahim then thought he had given the national side the lead four minutes after the restart, his goal was however ruled out for offside.
The skipper wasn’t too far away with a free-kick that just cleared the bar minutes later as Malaysia began to put pressure on their South East neighbours.
Azmi Muslim was next to test Robert James with a stinging free-kick which the keeper did well to beat away under pressure.
Philippines weathered the storm and went on the offensive soon after, and only some last ditch defending from Aidil Zafuan prevented Stephan Schrock from giving the Azkals the lead.
Substitute S. Chanturu then had a glorious chance to win it for Malaysia in injury time, but he disappointingly skied his shot in front of goal after some great work from fellow substitute Shakir Ali down the left flank.
So Malaysia ended their first friendly match with a draw, but it could have been a different story had the Tigers converted their chances.
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