Malaysia Player Ratings: Below-par performance by table-topping Tigers

Ong Kim Swee made eight changes to the side that defeated Myanmar last time out, hoping to rest his players and provide an opportunity for some of those fighting for a starting place in the SEA Games’ semi-final on Saturday. Vijhay Vick dishes out the grades

IFWAT AKMAL CHEK KASSIM: 6.5

He had little to do in the match and Ifwat could not have done anything about the free-kick Malaysia conceded from.

ADIB ZAINUDIN: 6.5

Wasn’t tested as much as the previous two games and the skipper even had the opportunity to venture forward, scoring Malaysia’s second goal after his cross took a deflection on its way into the back of the net.

IRFAN ZAKARIA: 7

Like Adib, Irfan had an easier night compared to previous games. He found himself with the ball plenty of times as Malaysia looked to build play from the back. Irfan distributed the ball well.

SYAZWAN ZAIPOL BAHARI: 6

Playing in his first game of the competition, Syazwan did relatively OK. He could, however, have been a little quicker to move the ball around.

ARIFF FARHAN ISA: 5.5

Ariff did his part on the right but there were not many penetrating runs and his crosses were below par. He was taken off on a stretcher in the 75th minute.

AMIRUL HISYAM AWANG KECHIK: 5

Back in the squad after being dropped from the Myanmar tie, Amirul did himself little favours in staking a claim for a starting role in the semi-final.

DANIAL AMIER NORHISHAM: 6.5

Danial gave away the free-kick that Phanthavong Thanin scored from in the 32nd minute, but that may have been harsh as he appeared to win the ball. Otherwise, Danial was more involved in the game than Amirul.

SYAHMI SAFARI: 6.5

Certainly not as impactful but Syahmi deserves points for effort. He sprinted up and down the flanks plenty of times, only to be let down by poor decision-making.

N. THANABALAN: 6.5

The hero in the last two matches, Thanabalan had a quieter night by his standards. Yet he never stopped running and delivered several good crosses into the box.

JAFRI FIRDAUS CHEW: 7.5

Back in the line-up again, Jafri led the frontline and stuck close to Laos’ last two defenders. He chased the ball down for Malaysia’s first real attempt in the 22nd minute and was first to the ball to put Malaysia ahead after Syafiq Ahmad had struck the crossbar from a header in the 26th minute. He scored his second from close range in stoppage time.

SYAFIQ AHMAD: 6

Having had a poor match against Brunei in the opener, Syafiq was expected to make a statement. Yet he didn’t look as if he was fighting for a place in the main team. Syafiq was, at times, guilty of holding the ball for too long. He did, however, play a part in both of Jafri’s goals.