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AFC U23 Championship

Confidence booster for Malaysia U22 after clinching 2-0 win over Myanmar U22

06:29 GMT+3 14/07/2017
Ariff Farhan, Malaysia U22, 13/07/2017
Horrendous weather did not stop Malaysia U22 from recording a solid 2-0 win over Myanmar U22 in the final warm-up game before AFC qualiers

The scene at Shah Alam Stadium on Thursday night for the international friendly match between Malaysia Under-22 and Myanmar Under-22 was as apocalyptic as it would get here in this South-East Asian country. Strong winds and heavy rain saw something happened for the first time in what is the second biggest stadium in the country.

Due to the weather, parts of the roofing were coming off and those plastics flew down perilously close to the spectators and players. One large piece even landed on the field of play which forced the referee to halt the game temporarily while waiting for the weather to improve. 

When it eventually did, Malaysia coped better with the water-logged pitch and came away with a credible 2-0 win on home soil. Winger N. Thanablan opened the scoring with a header from a corner kick in the 26th minute before Danial Ashraf slammed home a rebound in the 87th minute to give the team a boost ahead of the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers in Bangkok.

Malaysia were well on top of the match, putting the visitors under pressure which eventually led to the opening goal. Weather soon took control of the match and the game descended into more kids in a playground type of action, with puddles of water appearing all over the pitch.

For Datuk Ong Kim Swee, he continues to put faith in the new formation of a back three with Adam Nor Azlin, Irfan Zakaria and Adib Zainudin being the trio. Despite the clean sheet, Ong is still not satisfied with the performance and he's hoping to resolve those adjustments right before the big kick-off in Bangkok.

"Actually they have adapted very well since I took over and we implemented back three. But today we can see a little bit sluggish among them. Because they have not been playing together for some time and other factors also. There's few adjustments and luckily I have a few days to look at it and hopefully they'll be better when we are in Bangkok."

"We can say in the defence and midfield where we failed to move the ball out in a organised manner. We moved it well in our own half but not in the attacking side. So that are a couple of things we need to work on especially in defence," said Ong in the post-match press conference.

The squad will go through recovery sessions for the next two days before the final squad is announced on Monday. Given the problems in terms of players accepting the call-up for national duty, Ong is still willing to give them a chance and will not stop close the door on them just yet.

"I don't want say whether they are coming or not but the door is open. We still have time before we decide on Monday who's going to Bangkok," he added.

As for his opposite number Gerd Zeise, the Myanmar head coach rested amongst other star striker Aung Thu for the match as practice for the fringe players. Myanmar were giving Malaysia a run for their money until the heavens decided to open up. 

Myanmar is also preparing for the same qualifiers albeit in a different group, and Zeise is confident that the result on Thursday night will have no bearing on his team in the upcoming tournament. 

"We need to see some players behind them to see if they are ready for the AFC championships. I can only value the first half. In the first half we shouldn't have been down one zero as we had a few chances."

"I can live with this result. In the qualifer we will have a different tactic and a different XI," said Zeise.