Malaysia U23 record first win in South Korea, OKS to field best XI in final friendly

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A second string Malaysia U23 side recorded a slim 1-0 friendly win over Honam University on Friday, with the solitary goal scored by Kogileswaran Raj.

BY        ZULHILMI ZAINAL       Follow on Twitter


Despite fielding what is arguably a second string Malaysia U23 side in their friendly match against Honam University in South Korea, head coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee's boys were able to come away with a slim 1-0 win on Friday.

Out of the eleven players who started in their 1-1 draw against Mokpo City on Wednesday, Ong changed almost every single player in the starting line-up against the college side, except for forward Jafri Chew. The only goal of the match came in the 84th minute, scored by Kogileswaran Raj Mohana Raj.

Asked by the press after the match, Ong said that his men are adapting well to the cold weather in the region, and he wants them to grow their confidence when defending.

"The cold temperature is not an obstacle anymore as my players have adapted well to it, having been here for almost a week.

"I see no glaring weakness, but today's starting eleven must be more confident especially when absorbing pressure from the opponents, as well as to keep playing to our strengths," noted the former Malaysia senior team head coach.

He also revealed that his first eleven for the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship will only be fielded in their final friendly match before the tournament, which will kick off early January next year in China.

"(Today) I'm simply giving an opportunity to all the players to prove themselves, except for Beto (midfielder Ahmad Khairil Anuar Ahmad Zamri) and Akhyar [Rashid] who are still nursing their knocks.

"The best eleven will probably be fielded only in the final friendly before we begin our campaign in the group, against Iraq. For now each player will be given the same chance, in order to ensure that they understand our tactics before we leave for China," remarked Ong.

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