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Malaysia 0 Jordan 1: Accomplished Harimau Malaya performance ends in slim defeat

11:55 AM EDT 8/30/19
Danial Amier, Malaysia v Jordan, Friendly, 30 Aug 2019
Malaysia gave the much higher higher ranked Jordan side a real scare but ultimately got undone by an early goal to lose 0-1 to the Asian Cup finalists

The result was not what Tan Cheng Hoe wanted in the final build up game before the opening Wolrd Cup qualifier against Indonesia but the performance itself was noteworthy on its own as Malaysia more than held their way against a Jordanian team that is 60 places above them in the FIFA rankings.

In fact, Malaysia held more of the ball possession and kept Jordan at bay for large parts of the match. What the match have shown is that this Malaysia team is capable of matching supposedly better teams in the continent and above all else should put the team in a confident mood heading into the clash against one of their oldest rivals.

A new look midfield was put in place at the start of the match as Cheng Hoe looked to give the newcomers into the squad a chance to prove themselves. Brendan Gan, Nor Azam Azih and Danial Amier started the match while Mohamadou Sumareh, Akhyar Rashid, Faiz Nasir and Jafri Firdaus Chew were the four not named in the squad list for the match.

This against Vital Borkelmans' team that had seven players in their starting XI that were part of the team that played against Vietnam in the Round of 16 of the 2019 Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates back in January. The away side did however gave Malaysia a rude shock just minutes into the first half.

Malaysia did not hold a good defensive line and Jordan easily broke through for tall Said Morjan to get the better of La'Vere Corbin-Ong, turning the left back inside the penalty box before driving the ball into the bottom corner past Farizal Marlias after just six minutes played. 

Chances were and far in between in the opening period and the next chance in the game fell to Jordan in the 36th minute. Farizal raced off his line but was beaten to the ball by Ahmed Ersan, fortunately for the Malaysia captain, Matthew Davies was on hand to help clear the Ersan's goal-bound shot.

The introduction of Syafiq Ahmad in place of Danial at the start of the second half gave Malaysia a new dimension going forward and Cheng Hoe's team set about asking Jordan's keeper Yazeed Abulaila his first questions in the match.

In the 48th minute Safawi Rasid played Norshahrul Idlan Talaha in but the latter's rising shot was tipped over the bar by Yazeed. From the ensuing corner kick, Safawi beat two markers but thrashed his shot too high from close range. The Johor Darul Ta'zim forward would see his free kick just 10 minutes later flew wide of the post.

A flowing move from Malaysia in the 64th minute also saw the home side getting their equaliser. Syafiq played fellow substitute J. Partiban clear on the right hand side and the Perak winger quickly sped down the channel. His subsquent square pass found Hazwan Bakri but Yazeed once again came out tops in his duel. 

That was the last of the meaningful effort from Malaysia to get something out of the match. A defeat isn't ideal but Cheng Hoe will be left with many positives from the match that will likely impact his final thoughts on the team that needs to be cut to 24 players before the trip to Jakarta on Tuesday.

 

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