BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia U-22 recorded a 2-0 win over the Brunei senior team in a friendly match at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium on Thursday, thanks to forward Syafiq Ahmad's headed brace.
Young Tigers' head coach Frank Bernhardt started with Jafri Chew and Amirul Hisyam in front, while Amierul Hakimi shouldered goalkeeping duties in the match. Rising Perak star Ahmad Khairil Anuar was in midfield, while Adib Zainuddin deputised as captain in the absence of the injured Faris Shah Rosli.
Brunei head coach Mike Wong Mun Heng meanwhile fielded forwards Shahrazen Said and Abdul Azizi, with midfielder Rosmin Kamis as captain and Wardun Yusof as their goalkeeper.
The first significant chance in the match came in the 13th minute, when a teasing cross from the right was missed by all Malaysia players in the Brunei penalty area. It last fell in front of midfielder N. Thanabalan, but he took too long to steady the ball, and by the time he was ready goalkeeper Wardun was already out to close down the angle.
The Young Tigers dominated possession afterwards, but could not carry the ball into the final third to threaten the Wasps properly.
In the 38th minute, Amirul Hisyam had a great chance to open the scoring following a Brunei defensive mistake, but his poke ended on the wrong side of the bar.
Mun Heng showed his intention to try out as many of his players as possible, swapping three players by the 40th minute.
Four minutes from the halftime whistle, Rosmin tried from outside the Malaysia box. His attempt had power, but it was a little too wide.
The first half ended a dull 0-0.
At the start of the second half, Bernhardt made two changes, bringing on Haziq Nazli for Amierul, and Arif Anwar for Thanabalan.
In the 58th minute, Shahrazen tried from the left from close range, but Haziq did well to guess the direction of his shot.
Zarulizwan Mazlan could have given the hosts the lead in the 62nd minute, but his weak shot towards the goalmouth was cleared on the line by a Brunei defender.
They were almost punished by the visitors for the miss moments later, but Shahrazen's close-range header off a freekick just missed the goal by inches.
The first goal finally came in the 73rd minute, courtesy of striker Syafiq Ahmad. Syafiq smartly picked the far post to direct his header off a freekick towards, far enough from the grasp of Wardun.
Malaysia doubled their lead in the 83rd minute, again from a header by Syafiq. He connected with a corner kick from the right, with a flying header.
The match ended in a 2-0 win to the Young Tigers, their first since June 3. On Saturday they will play in another friendly, at the same venue.
Malaysia U-22: Amierul (GK) (Haziq 46'), Adib (C), Tan, Arif, Zarulizwan (Syazwan 72'), Thanabalan (Arif Anwar 46'), Khairil (Syafiq 62'), Syahmi (Zulkhairi 85'), Irfan, Amirul (Danial 78'), Jafri (Dinesh 81').
Brunei: Wardun (Mu'izzuddin 84'), Awangku (Shahme 40'), Reduan (Hairol 11'), Yura, Azwan, Najib (Yusof 78'), Hanif, Maududi (Shafie 62'), Rosmin (C) (Asnawi 46' (Ikhmal 74')), Azizi (Razimie 32' (Adi 52')), Shahrazen.