Analysis

Malaysia player ratings, ACQ: Malaysia bottle it after poor second-half display

Malaysia suffered a 2-1 defeat to Lebanon after the visitors scored two late goals in Larkin Stadium. Vijhay Vick dishes out the grades.

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Khairul Azhan Khalid: 6.5

The custodian had a quiet first half, being forced into just one save when Lebanese skipper Hassan Maatouk unleashed a shot from outside the box.

He was also forced to tip the ball over in the 47th minute.

Nazirul Naim Che Hashim: 6

Only in the squad because of injuries to several players, Nazirul had a decent night.

He was difficult to beat and did his part in venturing forward, only to run into opponents.

He should have been more bold and ambitious when in shooting positions.

Shahrom Kalam: 6.5

The Perak defender made an early clearance to deny Maatouk a shot at goal.

He also collected a yellow in the 16th minute and was walking on a thin rope after several other fouls.

He got better and read Lebanon’s movements as the match progressed.

Khairul Helmi Johari: 5.5

He missed an early clearance but managed to recover. Khairul Helmi, however, was caught for space and made two first-half tackles in the box that the visitors felt were legit claims for penalties.

Rizal Ghazali: 7

The Kedah right-back did not venture forward as he usually does but he was kept on his toes at the back and covered a lot ground to keep the right side intact.

Amirulhadi Zainal: 7.5

Back from international retirement, Amirulhadi sat deepest of the midfield trio and did a good job protecting the back-four, providing comfort for Safiq Rahim and Baddrol Bakhtiar.

Baddrol Bakthiar: 6

Given a more offensive role than he previously got with the national team, Baddrol combined well with Safiq to move the ball around.

His long balls were often accurate but Malaysia did not have enough numbers in attack. Baddrol, however, had a poor second half.

Safiq Rahim: 6.5

Returning back to the national team and being given the armband did not sit well with many, but Safiq looked like he was on a mission.

Safiq did his part, even applauding the fans when he took a corner in the 21st minute. He had a perfect moment to announce his return with a free-kick well inside his territory, only to strike the wall. He wasn’t as effective in the second half though.

Mahali Jasuli: 6.5

His inclusion was a surprise to many, considering he is not the best of wingers around.

Yet Mahali provided numbers when sitting back and was never afraid to take on players, even getting the better of them numerous times.

His anticipation and relentlessness was rewarded when he was first to the ball after Mehdi Kahlil spilled a routine catch. Mahali showed composure to score and give the hosts the lead into the break.

Syazwan Zainon: 5.5

Before Mahali scored, Syazwan had the best chances of the match after he was put through by Hazwan.

His shot went wide but Lebanon were very lucky. Syazwan however, wasn’t as dangerous as he could have been.

Ahmad Hazwan Bakri: 6

Hazwan worked very hard to get into positions but he was fighting a losing battle simply because he was outnumbered.

The Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) forward could, however, have been more clinical.

SUBSTITUTES

Amri Yahyah: 5.5

The veteran was introduced in the 73rd minute to add a bite up front. It started well but it proved to be a false.

Afif Amiruddin: 5

He was surprisingly brought into the midfield despite being a defender and he look out of sorts.

Azamuddin Akil: NA

Introduce after Lebanon had equalised, Azamuddin barely had time on the ball.