AG2018: Malaysia undone by a late penalty against Japan

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Pesepak bola Malaysia, Tan Dominic Jun Jin (kedua kanan) mendapat kartu kuningi, pada Babak 16 besar Asian Games 2018 di Stadion Patriot Chandrabhaga, Bekasi, Jawa Barat, Jumat (24/8). ANTARA FOTO/INASGOC/Hery Sudewo/Sup/18

Malaysia’s football dream in the 18th Asian Games ended at the Chandrabhaga Stadium in Bekasi on Friday – a 1-0 defeat to Japan which denied them a place in the quarter-finals. 

It was a heartbreaking 88th-minute penalty that destroyed Malaysian hopes when defender Dominic Tan felled Ayase Ueda to give away the spot kick. Ueda picked himself up and slotted home the winner for the Blue Samurai to advance to the quarter-finals while Malaysia’s brilliant run to the round of 16 ended in disappointment.
 
And disappointment was written all over the face of coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee as he heaped praises on his bunch of fighters who upset defending champions South Korea 2-1 after their 3-1 win over Kyrgyzstan. Malaysia lost 3-2 to Bahrain when Kim Swee threw in his reserves to give them a taste of Asian Games after securing top spot in the group.
 
The match against Japan looked headed into extra time until the penalty and it was too late for a fightback as the minutes in added time ticked although Safawi Rasid had one last chance from a freekick which he ballooned.
 
Despite the Japanese dominance the Malaysian backline and goalkeeper Haziq Nadzli thwarted the Japanese onslaught. 
 
In fact, Malaysia too had their fair share of scoring opportunities, including a stinger that came off the left upright plus a Syafiq Ahmad header that went inches wide.
 
“It is a bitter pill to swallow,” said Kim Swee over a television interview after the match.
 
“We were undone by the late, late penalty. However, we will take a lot of positives from this Asian Games. It will make us stronger to build a strong team.” – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH
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