BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia were perhaps a little lucky against a better-ranked by massively underwhelming Tajikistan, but in the end did enough to produce a win in their friendly match on Saturday.
Khairulazhan Khalid - 7/10
The custodian was not tested too many times in the match, but the few times he was, he did enough to keep the attempts out.
Matthew Davies - 8/10
The right back performed his defensive duties decently, but could not combine well down the touchline in attack with makeshift flanker Syahmi Safari. However, it was his long pass towards Syahmi that forced goalkeeper Rustam Yatimov to foolishly handle the ball outside of his box, resulting in his sending off. Davies was taken off midway through the second half to allow Safawi Rasid to come on.
Aidil Zafuan - 7/10
The centre back was not tested too hard by the opposition, and he was rested midway through the second half.
Shahrul Saad - 7/10
The central defender performed well, having the support of the more experienced Aidil next to him on the pitch.
La'vere Corbin-Ong - 7/10
Not too troubled in the defence, the left back could help out in attack a lot more often, but nothing substantial was produced from the moves he was involved in, and he was taken off in the second half to allow Syazwan Andik some game time.
Baddrol Bakhtiar - 7/10
His first Malaysia appearance in two years was an uneventful one, playing as a defensive midfielder. Tajikistan were not attacking aggressively in the first half, and Baddrol performed sufficiently before he was taken off for Brendan Gan at the start of the second half.
Syamer Kutty - 7/10
The midfielder ensured that the hosts dominated the middle of the park and that his forwards did not go long between attempts.
Azam Azih - 7/10
Returning to the line-up following his previous injury, the midfielder helped his side control proceedings.
Akhyar Rashid - 6/10
The left winger was lacking match sharpness, going relatively quiet in the first half while his second half forays and runs into the final third rarely produced anything dangerous.
Syahmi Safari - 7/10
The recently-married right back, who on Friday won the best goal award and was named on the tournament squad of the 2018 AFF Championship, had a torrid time on Saturday by comparison. Played as a right flanker for the first time in a long while, he could not gel well with Syafiq Ahmad and Davies on his flank, and lacked sharpness in front of the goal with the chances he had. He was however instrumental in the move that led to Tajikistan goalkeeper's sending off one minute into the second half, his run into the box forcing Rustam Yatimov to foolishly handle the ball outside of his box.
Syafiq Ahmad - 6/10
Not having a support striker or an attacking midfielder behind him hampered the striker, who was a little too isolated from the flankers and midfielders, resulting in him having to drop deeper in order to obtain the ball. He was taken off towards the end of the match, but not before picking up a silly booking for handbags.
Brendan Gan - 8/10 (Man of the Match)
Brendan Gan. Photo by Sports Regime
The new father was brought on at the start of the second half, and very quickly stamped his mark on proceedings. He showed urgency in attack, and with a one-touch long pass, assisted Safawi's winner.
Safawi Rasid - 8/10
A somewhat strange game for the rising star, who came on as a second half substitute, caused troubles to the Tajikistan defence before netting what would be the only goal of the match, a well-worked goal, before dropping off the radar after switching from the right flank to the left for the remainder of the match.
Adam Nor Azlin, Syazwan Andik, Farhan Roslan, Norshahrul Idlan Talaha - NA
Second half changes who helped Malaysia record a slim win and a clean sheet, nothing more.
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