BY ZULHILMI ZAINAL Follow on Twitter
Malaysia bounced back from their earlier defeat to edge Afghanistan 2-1 on Saturday, and finish in third place in the Airmarine Cup.
Afghanistan vs Malaysia match highlights
Khairul Fahmi Che Mat - 6/10
The goalkeeper did relatively well against a side who rarely threatened his goalmouth, although he should have done a lot better to keep out the Afghanistan goal.
Rizal Ghazali - 7/10
Returning to the Harimau Malaya line-up after a while, the right back played decently, focusing more on defending on an evening most of their attacks did not come from his flank.
Irfan Zakaria - 7/10
The centre back put in an adequate shift to keep the Afghanistan attackers away from their danger area, even at one point making a good last-minute challenge to deny a clear scoring chance.
Shahrul Saad - 7/10
The centre back showed improvements as compared to his performance against Singapore three days earlier.
Syazwan Andik Ishak - 6/10
The left back started his second consecutive match, although his previous one on Wednesday ended in him having to leave the pitch on a stretcher. He did not stand out, and although he did not disappoint, he showed a little over-eagerness to join in attacks on a night Malaysia attacked more from his flank. While he made a good last-ditch tackle at one point in in the first half, his poor marking allowed Faysal Shayesteh to score later on.
Akram Mahinan - 7/10
The midfielder showed more improvements in the match. While previously he was more content on sitting back to help the defence, on Saturday he showed willingness to push up front when he had the ball, perhaps noticing that their opposition was being bested in midfield.
Halim Saari - 7/10
His second Malaysia appearance came as a starter, and the midfielder did not disappoint. He complemented his former Kedah teammate Akram well in the middle of the park, helping Malaysia hold the midfield while distributing simple balls towards the forwards. But the one time he employed his now-trademark long pass, it resulted in the equaliser by club teammate Faiz Nasir
Faiz Nasir - 8/10 (Man of the Match)
Making his Malaysia debut at age 26, the diminutive attacking midfielder made a strong argument for all the fans' earlier calls to have him called up. He was a constant threat playing in a free-role position, using his individual skills to bring the ball close to the danger area, even if the Malaysia forwards continued misfiring in the match. And when no one was up to the task of scoring when they were trailing to a marvelous Faysal Shayesteh's curler, Faiz produced a stunner of his own to equalise; a bending shot from outside the box that eluded the goalkeeper, struck the underside of the crossbar at the far corner before crossing the goalline.
Mohamadou Sumareh - 7/10
Perhaps expecting Afghanistan to try and stop their most prominent player Sumareh, Malaysia did most of the attacking down their left flank. As a result, the right winger had a quiet first half. But in the second he sprung into action when fatigue was starting to affect the Afghanistan defence. Although he was not directly involved in the winning goal, it could be argued that he contributed by drawing the defenders to him, allowing space for Matthew Davies to send in the cross that was then stabbed by Abassin Alikhil into his own net.
Hadin Azman - 7/10
Played relatively well in his first Malaysia appearance since 2016. The left wing were a threat to the Afghanistan danger area in a match that the hosts had to shift their attacking focus away from the right flank and Sumareh. Had at least two chances to score, but both went begging. He was taken off with 20 minutes remaining on the clock for S. Kumaahran.
Norshahrul Idlan Talaha - 6/10
Another frustrating night for the veteran forward, who was pushed to the top as a striker in the place of Zaquan Adha. He had possession of the ball in the Afghanistan penalty box numerous times, but erroneously decided to linger on it for one or two seconds too long each time.
Matthew Davies - 7/10
Coming on with around 10 minutes remaining, the right back helped his team continue pressing for the winner. His relatively fresher legs allowed him to trouble the defence in attack, and it was his cross that ended helping the hosts snatch a late winner.
Kenny Pallraj Davaragi, Kumaahran Sathasivam - NA
Second half substitutions who did not make a prominent contribution to the team.
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