SHAH ALAM – The Harimau Malaya (national football squad) players did a good job even though they lost 1-2 to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the home leg of the 2018 World Cup/Asia Cup 2019 qualifiers, saidÂ Harimau Malaya interim coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee.
He said the good understanding among the players helped keep the scoreline low against the Middle East giants.
“What is important is that they were able to play as a unit. I am not saying we were 100 per cent effective but we showed good discipline, especially in defence,” he told reporters after the match at the Shah Alam Stadium last night.
Omar Abdulrahman and UAE captain Ahmed Khalil were on target in the 20th and 51st minutes while Malaysia’s captain Safiq Rahim narrowed the deficit in the 58th minute.
The match was also played in an empty stadium owing to FIFA penalising Malaysia over crowd trouble when Malaysia played the home leg in the qualifiers against Saudi Arabia at the same venue on Sept 8.
Malaysia had suffered a humiliating 0-10 defeat against UAE in the away leg on Sept 3.
Malaysia are currently in fourth spot in Group A after collecting four points from seven matches. Saudi Arabia are leading the group with 16 points followed by UAE (13 points) and Palestine (9 points) while minnows Timor LesteÂ are languishing at the bottom with just two points.
Malaysia will be playing their final group match away against Saudi Arabia on March 24 next year. FIFA had also awarded Saudi Arabia a 3-0 victory for the first leg because of the crowd trouble. – BERNAMA