Malaysia Under-22 side narrowly lost 1-0 to China U22 in a friendly match played at Xiangtan Sports Centre Stadium on Saturday.
An early goal conceded before a minute of the game had been played proved to be the goal that decided the outcome of the match.
Datuk Ong Kim Swee made changes in the second half by bringing on Jafri Chew and Danial Amier for N. Thanabalan and Amirul Hisyam as Malaysia looked to find the equaliser but none came.
After the match, Ong was unhappy with the manner in which the team started the match but was nevertheless pleased with the improvement shown after the half time break.
"As I expected, it was a difficult match but I think both sides played very well. We were ready early on and we conceded an easy goal but overall I'm pleased with the boys, especially in the second half."
"There's a lot of aspect which we need to improve on. Overall, with the system we played, my boys showed character even though they weren't good enough to get a goal.
"I think we controlled the game better in the second half. The result is important and we need to rectify our weaknesses and keep our focus right from the start," said Ong.
The match also marked a change of system for the team as Ong employed a 3-man backline in a 3-4-3 formation.
The tour of China is part of Malaysia's preparation towards the AFC U-23 Championship qualifier scheduled to take place in Thailand in July.
The team will next play against the reserves side of two Chinese Super League teams in Guangzhou R&F (13 June) and Guangzhou Evergrande (15 June) before returning to Kuala Lumpur.