KUALA LUMPUR – Coach Dollah Salleh’s hopes of starting the 2018 World Cup Qualifying campaign on a winning note was dashed by a last minute strike as Timor Leste held Malaysia to a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, here last night.
Dollah’s boys started the match on a cautious note and had to wait until the 33rd minute to take the lead through Mohd Safee Sali who finished off a move by Mohd Amri Yahyah.
Amri’s shot was parried into the path of Safee by Timor Leste goalkeeper Ramos Sauzinho Ribeiro Maxanche.
Stunned by the goal, Timor Leste doubled its attack and nearly managed to equalise before half time but Patrick Fabiano was ruled out for offside.
In the second half Dollah made a number of changes by bringing in Azammuddin Mohd Akil, Mohd Nazrin Mohd Nawi and Muhammad Afiq Azmi but the trio did little to change the scoreline.
Muhammad Afiq had two good opportunities to score in the 84th and 85th minutes but his finishing let him down.
Just when the local fans thought the three points were in the bag, Ramon De Lima Saro struck the equaliser well into injury time to deny Dollah his day of glory.
Malaysia are drawn in Group A with Timor Leste, Saudi Arabia, Palestine and United Arab Emirates (UAE).