No points in Hong Kong – only red and yellow cards

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PHOTOS courtesy of The Hong Kong Football Association Ltd

Malaysia’s hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Asia Cup are virtually over if Tuesday’s insipid performance in the 2-0 defeat to Hong Kong in a Group B qualifier at the Hong Kong Stadium is anything to go by.
Instead of picking up points to keep their hopes alive the Malaysians ended up picking a direct red card – thanks to skipper Safiq Rahim’s stomping of Hong Kong player Daniel Rodriguez on 39 minute. Sri Lankan referee Nivon Robesh Gamini also booked debutant Syamer Kutty Abba and Safawi Rasid in the 44th and injury time respectively.
The defeat means national coach Nelo Vingada, remains winless since taking over the hot-seat in June. 
The Portuguese was also handed added responsibilities in Hong Kong as the new manager to replace Datuk Sri Subahan Kamal after it was endorsed by FA of Malaysia (FAM) president Major General Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim who is also the Crown Prince of Johor.
Safiq’s early shower took the bite out of Malaysia and with a one-man advantage Hong Kong wasted no time to grab the lead in the 44th minute.
It came via a beautifully executed freekick which was headed into the Malaysian net by Spanish-born Jorge Tarres Paramo – one of the six naturalised players donning Hong Kong colours.
And four minutes into the second-half it was all over for Malaysia when England-born Jaimes McKee plundered in another header from cross on the right by Manuel dos Santos Filho.
For the record Malaysia were hit by injuries and suspension to key players. The absence of rightback Rizal Ghazali and centreback Aidil Zafuan Abdul Radzak because of suspension left a big gap in defence while strikeforce lacked the firepower without Ahmad Hazwan Bakiri and Shahrel Fikri Fauzi 
After the Hong Kong match Malaysia remain entrenched at the bottom of the group with only one point after three matches. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH 
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