Jordan walked away with a 1-0 win over Malaysia in an ‘A’ international friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Friday to deny the Harimau Malaya some Merdeka cheer. Malaysia celebrates its 62nd Merdeka on Saturday.
National football head coach Tan Cheng Hoe, however, has taken the defeat in his stride and said: “There were more positives from the team in the second half. I must admit that we had a poor first half but it was a different story after the break.”
The defeat is demoralizing to a certain extent as Harimau Malaya face Indonesia in their Group G opening 2022 World Cup/2023 Asia Cup qualifier at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Sept 5.
“We need to tighten things up at the back. Our finishing was also not there although we created several chances. Overall the players gave their best,” added Cheng Hoe.
Jordan scored as early as the seventh minute through their skipper Saeed Murjan who beat goalkeeper Farizal Marlias with a crisp low shot after outwitting his marker Corbin Ong with a swift turn.
Stunned by the early goal, Malaysia, however, fought back gallantly but never really threatened Jordan although veteran Norshahrul Idlan Talaha and Safawi Rasid tried in vain.
Harimau Malaysia went on the offensive after the break. J. Partiban, who made his international debut, made a strong run on the right after coming off the bench to replace Daniel Amier Norhisham – another player who earned his first international cap.
Partiban crossed for Hazwan Bakri but the latter’s attempt from close range was well saved by Jordan keeper Yazeed Abulaila on 64 minutes.
Earlier, Norshahrul and Safawi also came close to scoring but finishing denied them from getting their name into the scoresheet. RIZAL ABDULLAH