Ong Kim Swee introduced new faces in his Harimau Malaya debut but did not manage to secure a win against the spirited Philippines.
BY AZUAN SYAH Follow on Twitter
The home side started off well with defender Amiridzwan Taj headed the ball into the net in the 12th minute but was disallowed by the referee as he was caught pushing another player.
Four minutes later, another chance appeared for Harimau Malaya but skipper Aidil Zafuan hit the crossbar after he headed a corner kick from Nazrin Nawi.
The hosts continued to showcase their superiority in this first half, with Nazrin Nawi looking particularly threatening at left flank and it was his cross that almost led to goal after it was headed by Safiq Rahim, but again it was denied by the crossbar.
Amri Yahyah almost came close on the 19th minutes, with Hafiz Kamal's amazing through ball into the path of the striker, whose effort from the edge of the box hit the woodwork.
Malaysia continued to pile on the pressure on the Philippines with striker Safee Sali spurneing a chance to score a goal in the 38th minute after his effort was comfortably saved by custodian Patrick Phillip Deyto.
After being overrun in the first half, the visitors double their efforts to push up front and almost got the lead in the 60th minute after a move on the left flank found James Younghusband who unleashed a
fierce shot from inside the box only to be saved by custodian Khairul Azhan.
Malaysia tried to get their momentum back after being overrun by Philippines from the start of the second half with the partnership of Amri Yahyah and Mahali Jasuli from the right flank almost brought a goal for S. Kunalan in the 70th minute after he missed by a few inches from Amri Yahyah's cross.
Three minutes later, Safee Sali who was seen quiet in the second half, fired a shot from 20 yards but the ball went wide.
Four minutes before the end, Mahali Jasuli made a surging run from the right flank and turned his marker inside out before unleashing a shot with his left foot but it hit side netting.
The visitors came close just before the final minute with Maria De Jong making a run from a counter attack going past three defenders with just the goalkeeper to beat but Asraruddin Putra Omar turned hero as he managed to clear the ball away.
In the end, Malaysia failed to utilise their far more superior ball possession and home advantage with the much needed clinical finishing as a sturdy Phillippines side will be happy with the hard fought