Malaysia U22 Ratings: Brave Tigers fall agonisingly short of SEA Games gold

Malaysia’s SEA Games gold medal aspirations were not meant to be despite a good performance by Ong Kim Swee’s charges at Shah Alam Stadium, holding their own for most parts of the 1-0 defeat to Thailand on Tuesday. Vijhay Vick dishes out the grades.

HAZIQ NADZLI: 5

The custodian made a top-notch save from a header to keep the score level in the 27th minute. Yet it was the keeper who deflected a corner into the back of his own net in the 39th minute, which proved the only goal of the game.

ADAM NOR AZLIN: 8

A leader without the captain’s armband, Adam entered the pitch and urged the crowd to raise the volume to cheer the team on. He  made several important challenges and blocks throughout the match to help keep Malaysia in the game.

IRFAN ZAKARIA: 7.5

Playing the last man role well, Irfan ensured Thailand were not going to break loose on the counter attack.

ADIB ZAINUDDIN: 7

The skipper could count himself lucky not to concede a penalty after bringing down Phittiwat Sookjitthummakul very early in the match. From that point on he never gave room to Chenrop Samphaodi to have time on the ball

SYAZWAN ANDIK ISHAK: 6

Nothing spectacular but Syazwan managed to keep Phicha Au-Tra in check and when he had the ball moving forward, the left-footer tried to get past players.

SYAMER KUTTY ABBA: 4.5

Good with the ball but Syamer held on to it for too long at times. He did, however, cover plenty of ground to assert himself in the game. Was rightly taken off after 65 minutes.

NOR AZAM ABDUL AZIH: 8

Azam was everywhere, pressuring Thailand’s midfield and carving openings for his teammates. He distributed the ball well and had several chances for himself, even testing custodian Nont Muangngam from afar but his shot dipped a little too late.

MATTHEW DAVIES: 6.5

Kept busy by Sasalak Haiprakhon, but Davies didn’t look out of place. He managed to venture forward many times but wasn’t afforded much space to deliver a decisive cross.

SAFAWI RASID: 6

The left-sided forward dropped deeper compared to previous games and didn’t really have a good first half, but he stepped up in the second and took on players as Malaysia searched for an equaliser. Safawi, however, made way for Syafiq in the 68th minute.

JAFRI FIRDAUS CHEW: 7

Fired up from the start, he showed his pace to pressure defenders down the sides before having to make way for Akhyar after picking up an injury.

N. THANABALAN: 6

Malaysia’s top scorer could have given Malaysia the lead after 12 minutes had he got a touch from a squared ball into the box.