BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Despite performing valiantly against China, Malaysia just missed out on the AFC U-23 Championship finals, as they recorded a 2-2 draw on Wednesday in their last Group J qualifiers match.
Malaysia vs China match highlights
Haziq Nadzli - 7/10
The goalkeeper performed well enough to keep out the numerous attempts by the Chinese, but could not keep out two of them.
Dominic Tan - 7/10
The right back was a calm and commanding figure in overall, but the one time he lost focus, it led to China's first equaliser.
Syamer Kutty Abba - 7/10
The makeshift centre back had a decent game keeping out the opposition attackers, but was not able to use his height to clear the cross that led to China's second and final equaliser.
Shahrul Nizam Ros Hasni - 7/10
The left back performed adequately save for a minor mistake, knocking the ball into the path of China's Hu Jinghang, who then was able to send in the cross that would lead to their 16th minute goal.
Syahmi Safari - 6/10
The right wingback started the match well, his cross in the eighth minute knocked by Zhu Chenjie into his own net for the opening goal, but his diligence in defending was again called into question. He did not shadow Zhang Yuning well just before the striker equalised through a header eight minutes later, and his hesistance to close down Wen Jiabao allowed space and time for the winger to square the ball, which was then nodded in by Jiang Shenglong for China's second goal.
Danial Haqim Draman - 8/10
The midfielder had a decent game on a night he had to help the defence more, and had enough presence of mind to poke the ball into the net for the hosts' second goal in the 54th minute, after Chen Wei mistakenly dropped it.
Nik Akif Nik Mat - 8/10
The teenage midfielder performed well, making sure his Chinese counterparts did not have an easy time in the middle of the park with the ball, while himself dutifully making distributions to the left or the right flank when in possession of it.
Dinesh Rajasingam - 7/10
The left wingback was not as outstanding as his teammates, but did everything that was asked of him, especially in defence.
Safawi Rasid - 7/10
The winger did not do much that was wrong, but for a player of his abilities and game-changing potential not to have played a bigger role in the game, especially by producing a late winner, feels like a letdown.
Hadi Fayyadh - 8/10 (Best player of the team)
Returning to the starting line-up following a dismal night against the Philippines that perhaps partially led to him being benched next against Laos, the striker played an integral part in Malaysia's commendable performance on Tuesday, although one couldn't tell this by simply looking at the scoresheet. He did not come close to hitting the back of the net, but on numerous occassions used his physique well to hold the ball up while his teammates swarmed into position, allowing them to repeatedly threaten the technically and physically superior China side, something that would have been harder for the hosts to pull off without him. Now he's playing club football in Japan's second tier, hopefully he will work hard to develop his technique and skills too.
Akhyar Rashid - 8/10
The winger was a tireless figure in the match, constantly wanting to attack the China defence with his runs, even if they were a little too good for him. Playing mostly on the left flank, everytime he took the ball close to China's danger area, he would force the opponents to be on their toes.
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